Brazil Leads in World Cup Piracy

The World Cup has been called the Greatest Show on Earth, and the majority of group stage matches have not failed to disappoint. Unfortunately, while broadcasters, retailers and even the hospitality industry look on the World Cup as a positive summer boost, so too do pirates.

Irdeto detected 5,088 unique illegal streams redistributing games over the internet during the group stage of the 2018 World Cup. The bookies’ favourites, Brazil win the unwanted moniker of most pirated team, with more than 582 illegal streams detected for Brazil’s three group stage matches. Brazil were followed by Morocco (561 streams) and Portugal (535 streams).

Tipped by many fans to have their best chance of winning the World Cup in years, and as they look forward to the second-round tie against Colombia, England were the fifth most pirated team with 523 streams. This is despite all games in England being shown on free-to-air channels. England were however again just edged out by Belgium, who were fourth (526 streams). The fact that Germany had a World Cup to forget is emphasised by their lack of popularity with pirates, not making the top ten of pirated teams.

As with previous Irdeto piracy data, these figures suggest that more still needs to be done to stop the illegal distribution of high profile live sport. In the case of the World Cup, social media channels including Facebook, Periscope, YouTube and Twitch were the main vehicle for illegal streams. Key social media statistics were:

  • 3,773 of the total 5,088 streams were detected on social media channels, reaching an estimated 4,292,874 viewers.
  • Portugal were the most illegally viewed team on social media channels with an estimated 826, 660 viewers of their games.
  • Portugal were followed closely by Morocco and Brazil.
  • The group stage game that attracting the most illegal viewers on social media was Brazil vs. Switzerland with an estimated 613, 715 viewers.

Commenting on the findings, Rory O’Connor, Senior Vice President of Cybersecurity Services, Irdeto said, “As one of the biggest sporting events around, the World Cup inevitably attracts a lot of global attention from pirates, as well as legitimate viewers. Content owners, rights holders and platform owners must continue to work together and enlist technology and proactive services to take down illegal streams in real-time as we progress further through the tournament. Meanwhile viewers of these streams really must consider the risks they are exposing themselves to by viewing illegal streams, and the potential threat of criminal penalties.”

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