If you wanted to watch Saturday night’s long-awaited fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, you had a few options. You could pay $100 to buy the fight on pay-per-view. You could head to a theater that was airing the bout for something like $40 a person. You could head to a local bar and hope the cover charge wasn’t too high.

Or, you could sit at home on your computer and search the internet for illegal streams.

According to Forbes, digital security company Irdeto reports that approximately 2,930,598 people chose the latter option. Per Fobes, Irdeto identified 239 illegal streams, 165 of which were made available through Facebook, Periscope, YouTube or Twitch and 67 of which were accessible on illegal streaming sites. Ads promoting the illegal streams were reportedly placed around the internet in advance of the fight.

According to Forbes, the promoters of Mayweather-McGregor were apparently not as successful in blocking illegal streams as the promoters of the 2015 bout between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao were.

In 2015, promoters Top Rank and Mayweather Promotions made a preemptive strike to shut down the possibility of illegal streams before they even took place. It was the first time that a lawsuit had been filed over piracy that hadn’t yet taken place.

At that time, Periscope took down 30 streams of the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. This time around, it didn’t seem to deter “digital Robin Hoods” who paid for the pay-per-view and then streamed it from their account. 

Those illegal streams surely took a huge bite out of the event’s revenues. If even 10 percent of the 3 million illegal streamers would have been otherwise inclined to pay for the fight, that’s an extra $30 million in PPV buys.

Of course, no one will go broke over these illegal streams. Whether or not Mayweather-McGregor tops Mayweather-Pacquiao in PPV buys, as widely anticipated, the numbers will be gaudy and everyone—Mayweather, McGregor, Mayweather Promotions, UFC, Showtime—will come out with a healthy check.

[Forbes]

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.

  • ItsBlackjack115

    NO REFUNDS!

  • If they weren’t willing to pay, that supposedly lost money never existed.

  • TriCuriousGeorge

    > Promoters lost tens of millions of dollars due to illegal streams.

    No they didn’t. The vast majority of those watching via one of the online streams would not have paid for the fight at all, so to count their viewership as lost revenue is folly.

    • SChapman

      You are exactly correct…same idiotic rationale used to conflate “lost revenue” with illegal music downloads.

  • Real Talk

    I will never pay 100 to watch Mayweather fight a clown

  • Chris Humpherys

    I spoke to a ton of people who watched the fight illegally. Still sure promoters walked away with a pretty penny.

    http://sportschump.net/2017/08/28/different-way-watch-fight-sign-o-times/19387/