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Report: Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor illegally streamed by nearly 3 million viewers

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The Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor superfight was seen by tens of millions around the world, but unsurprisingly, not all of them watched it legally.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. v Conor McGregor Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor was discussed pre-fight as having a significant chance of eclipsing Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao for the biggest pay-per-view buy rate in history. Of course, with the enormous interest came the enormous cost of $99.95 to order the event in HD (for those in North America), so illegal streams were always going to be an “alternative,” wallet-friendly way to even get a glimpse of Mayweather’s eventual TKO win over the UFC lightweight champion.

Despite proactive efforts from Showtime and the UFC to crack down on piracy for what they were hoping would be the richest fight of all-time, streams were popping up all across the web. Take a look at these numbers, courtesy of Variety:

The Aug. 26 match from Las Vegas yielded 239 illegal live-streamed rebroadcasts online, reaching an estimated 2.93 million viewers worldwide, according to content-security vendor Irdeto. Of those, 67 were hosted on well-known piracy streaming websites. Pirates also used services including Facebook, YouTube, Twitter’s Periscope, Amazon-owned Twitch and media-player platform Kodi to illegally redistribute the highly anticipated event, according to Irdeto.


In addition to the live-streaming piracy, an estimated 445,000 internet users downloaded video of the fight after it concluded Saturday, including 78,000 in the U.S. and 49,000 in the U.K. and Ireland, according to piracy-tracking firm Tecxipio.

So not only were millions watching illegal live streams on August 26th, but those who were trying to actually order the PPV legally ran into difficulties. UFC Fight Pass crashed “due to the overwhelming traffic,” and others who tried purchasing through their cable providers didn’t necessarily fare much better. The end result was Showtime delaying the start time of Mayweather vs. McGregor.

To sum things up: a record-breaking megafight involving Floyd Mayweather was in such high-demand that pay-per-view orders were not getting through, and millions more streamed it illegally. The more things change, the more they stay the same.