Irdeto, which researched the data, says pirates are using a variety of means to continue their illegal streams with the web being the main distribution vehicle. 2,121 web-based streams were detected with a further 2,093 streams detected across social media channels including Periscope, Facebook and Twitch estimated to have reached 4,893,902 viewers.
A total of 886 streams were recorded through plugins for popular media player Kodi.
“Criminals have targeted premium sports content such as the European Champions League and are earning a fortune from stealing the rights. This makes it crucial for content owners, rights holders and platform owners to work together and enlist technology and proactive services to take down streams in real-time,” said Rory O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto. “The criminals who profit from these illegal streams have little regard for their viewers and are exposing them to cybercrime, inappropriate content and malware infection. Also, viewers of illegal content can face criminal penalties if they decide to share content with friends on social media.”
The team most targeted by illegal streamers was Roma, with 1,476 streams detected for their matches. This was followed by Real Madrid (1,354 streams), Liverpool (1,252 streams) and Bayern Munich (977 streams). The exciting second leg semi-final Roma v Liverpool was the most-streamed match, with 405 illegal streams, representing a potential loss of revenue to clubs and the competition.
Based on the average pay-TV subscription prices in Europe this could represent a loss of more than €14 million per month or €170 million on an annual basis.