iNov 2, 2019; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Canelo Alvarez (blue/green trunks) and Sergey Kovalev (black/white/red trunks) box during their WBO light heavyweight title bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Alvarez won via 11th round TKO. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Despite it being illegal, sports rights holders having their content pirated remains a huge problem. If one is willing to accept a low-quality stream, there are various places someone can go in order to find sporting events that might not legally be available without paying.

Usually, the people who provide illegal livestreams are random people without a large following but during last Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez-Callum Smith fight, a rather notable figure was giving people a free view.

Former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev streamed the Canelo-Smith fight on Instagram and that got the attention of DAZN, who had the rights to the fight. According to The Athletic, the streaming company is considering action against Kovalev for the illegal stream.

While neither side went on the record, The Athletic reported that sources told them DAZN executives “were alarmed and extremely frustrated by Kovalev’s brazen behavior.” What makes this especially interesting is that Kovalev is supposed to fight Bektemir Melikuziev January 30 on DAZN.

Kovalev had a peak audience of around 2,500 viewers on his Instagram Live stream. It’s difficult to determine how many of those people would’ve gone and found another stream or wind up paying the $19.99/month, $99.99/year, or $69.99 PPV price (with a four month DAZN subscription) to watch the fight but it’s certainly a problem professionally when the person providing the stream is potentially taking money away from the company they’ve previously had and are about to have a working relationship with.

[The Athletic]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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