Premier League illegally streamed by 4.5m Britons per season, says study

English soccer fans account for high proportion of UK pirate streams.

14 October 2019 Steven Impey

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Nine per cent of Britons admit to having illegally streamed at least one Premier League game over the past 12 months, according to new research by the personal finance comparison site Finder.com.

The figure equates to roughly 4.5 million people over the course of a single season, with a ‘high proportion’ of UK pirate content consumption coming from soccer-related streaming.

According to Finder.com’s research, more than 81 per cent of Britons have been subscribed to a streaming service in some capacity over the last year, while 17 per cent admit to streaming films, movies or sports illegally in the same period.

‘This means that of all those who illegally stream across the UK, 24 per cent view Premier League games,’ the report said. ‘When you look at the numbers of people who illegally stream any type of sport, the number rises to 44 per cent of illegal streamers, or 16 per cent of all Brits.’

While both male (83 per cent) and female (81 per cent) respondents said they are streaming content over the last year, men  (25 per cent) tended to illegally stream more often compared to women (17 per cent), according to the research.

Of these, 14 per cent of male audiences were found to illegally stream soccer compared to other sports (12 per cent), and is double the number of female viewers who admitted to doing the same. Meanwhile, streamers aged between 25 and 34 are the most likely to illicitly stream Premier League matches.

Regionally, London-based consumers are the most prolific for illegally streaming Premier League (21 per cent), with Scotland (17 per cent) coming second. The two regions with the lowest percentage of illegal football streamers were Wales (four per cent) and East Anglia (six per cent).

Of those paid streaming services that show Premier League soccer, 13 per cent of Britons said they had subscribed to BT Sport, which has rights to select Premier League matches, as well as every game from the Uefa Champions League.

In comparison, almost one in five (19 per cent) had watched NowTV, Sky’s on-demand streaming service, though its SkyGo mobile app still leads the way in the UK, with 24 per cent of those surveyed confirming that they used the platform to watch Premier League soccer.

Sky Sports, the principal rights partner for English soccer’s top-flight, averaged around 2 million views for its most popular live match broadcasts last season.

The findings were unveiled following news earlier this month that the Premier League had helped prosecute a retailer in London for selling set top boxes providing access to unauthorised broadcasts of its games.

The counterfeit devices included channels featuring Saudi Arabia-based pirate service BeoutQ, and came to light following an investigation conducted in conjunction with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police.

Nine per cent of Britons admit to having illegally streamed at least one Premier League game over the past 12 months, according to new research by the personal finance comparison site Finder.com.

The figure equates to roughly 4.5 million people over the course of a single season, with a ‘high proportion’ of UK pirate content consumption coming from soccer-related streaming.

According to Finder.com’s research, more than 81 per cent of Britons have been subscribed to a streaming service in some capacity over the last year, while 17 per cent admit to streaming films, movies or sports illegally in the same period.

‘This means that of all those who illegally stream across the UK, 24 per cent view Premier League games,’ the report said. ‘When you look at the numbers of people who illegally stream any type of sport, the number rises to 44 per cent of illegal streamers, or 16 per cent of all Brits.’

While both male (83 per cent) and female (81 per cent) respondents said they are streaming content over the last year, men  (25 per cent) tended to illegally stream more often compared to women (17 per cent), according to the research.

Of these, 14 per cent of male audiences were found to illegally stream soccer compared to other sports (12 per cent), and is double the number of female viewers who admitted to doing the same. Meanwhile, streamers aged between 25 and 34 are the most likely to illicitly stream Premier League matches.

Regionally, London-based consumers are the most prolific for illegally streaming Premier League (21 per cent), with Scotland (17 per cent) coming second. The two regions with the lowest percentage of illegal football streamers were Wales (four per cent) and East Anglia (six per cent).

Of those paid streaming services that show Premier League soccer, 13 per cent of Britons said they had subscribed to BT Sport, which has rights to select Premier League matches, as well as every game from the Uefa Champions League.

In comparison, almost one in five (19 per cent) had watched NowTV, Sky’s on-demand streaming service, though its SkyGo mobile app still leads the way in the UK, with 24 per cent of those surveyed confirming that they used the platform to watch Premier League soccer.

Sky Sports, the principal rights partner for English soccer’s top-flight, averaged around 2 million views for its most popular live match broadcasts last season.

The findings were unveiled following news earlier this month that the Premier League had helped prosecute a retailer in London for selling set top boxes providing access to unauthorised broadcasts of its games.

The counterfeit devices included channels featuring Saudi Arabia-based pirate service BeoutQ, and came to light following an investigation conducted in conjunction with the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), with the assistance of the Metropolitan Police.