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Study: Over half of sports fans use pirated streams once a month

Research by video software provider Synamedia has found that 51 per cent of sports fans watch pirated sports streaming services at least once a month, despite 89 per cent of consumers having a subscription to a pay-television or OTT service.

The 10-country study found that, of those who regularly view illegal sports content, 42 per cent watch sports fixtures on a daily basis, which is over 60 per cent higher than the average sports fan.

Synamedia’s ‘Charting Global Sports Piracy’ report draws on results from over 6,000 sports fans conducted by Ampere Analysis.

Just 16 per cent of online sports fans said that they never watch via illegal sources, while nearly a third – 31 per cent – of those who do watch illegal content regularly claim they do so because the event is not available on a local broadcast.

29 per cent of people using illegal sites and services have paid these services for access. The research also found that 44 per cent of sports fans already watch content via legal OTT streaming services every week.

Simon Brydon, who recently joined Synamedia as senior director of sports rights anti-piracy, said: “Global spend on TV sports rights is set to total almost $50bn (€44.1bn) in 2020. Protecting these revenues and keeping sports on screens requires a deeper understanding of the evolving piracy landscape and a cogent response.

“This initial research into what motivates sports fans to access illegal streams establishes a baseline for a more nuanced and targeted approach to combatting piracy. Our ambition is to help sports rights-holders and operators apply a more forensic approach that drives up legitimate revenues, reduces sports’ fans reliance on illegal streams and takes the wind out of the pirates’ sails.”

Brydon was previously a consultant to the Pitch International agency. Having set up Cycling TV, the pioneering cycling OTT platform, in 2003, he went on to work at Racecourse Media Group, company responsible for media and data rights distribution to a host of UK racecourses, from 2008 to 2014.