The much-hyped fight between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker on Saturday reached around 225,000 people on pirated livestreams, according to data from digital security expert Irdeto.
While that number is dwarfed by the almost 3 million viewers what watched last year’s clash between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor on pirated streams, Irdeto’s analysis detected a larger number of pirate streams for Joshua vs. Parker.
Some 339 streams illegally distributed Saturday’s fight, according to Irdeto, of which 207 used social media channels including Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch. Pirates also took advantage of illicit streaming plugins for the Kodi media player, with 71 streams identified by Irdeto on the platform. The fight reached approximately 225,804 viewers via pirated streams.
Last year, Irdeto identified 239 streams that illegally distributed the Mayweather vs. McGregor fight, which were estimated to have reached approximately 2,930,598 viewers. Of the 239 streams, 67 were provided via traditional pirate streaming websites, according to the Amsterdam-based security firm.
“High-profile live sporting events like this are major targets for criminals looking to profit from illegal streams,” said Rory O’Connor, senior vice president of cybersecurity services at Irdeto, in a statement.
Consumers, he added, should be aware that illegal streams expose their devices, data and families to the risk of cybercrime, inappropriate content and other threats. “In addition, people who think about sharing events like this illegally should be aware that they could face charges or legal action as a result,” he said.
Earlier this year, for example, a British boxing fan was hit with a £5,000 ($7,023) bill after his friend streamed the April 2017 fight between Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko on Facebook Live.
Craig Foster reportedly paid $26.99 to watch the fight via Sky Box Office pay-per-view at home with friends. One friend, however, started streaming the fight via Foster’s iPad to Facebook Live.
Sky tracked down Foster via the watermark on his account number, which appeared on his screen.
Joshua scored a unanimous points victory over Parker in Saturday's eagerly-anticipated heavyweight unification bout. The British fighter now holds the WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this article.
Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers