Here Is How Many People Watched Mayweather Versus McGregor Illegally

The epic matchup between Connor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather on Saturday, Aug. 26, was streamed live on at least 239 illegal streams with millions of people watching, according to Irdeto, a digital platform security firm.

Pirates used streaming capabilities on Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and Twitch, among other social media platforms, to redistribute the spectacle live. In total, approximately 2.9 million people watched the fight illegally, Irdeto estimates.

The fight was a target for pirates since it combined huge audiences from boxing, where Mayweather is an undefeated champion, and the United Fighting Championship, where McGregor is a huge fan favorite.

Conor McGregor (R) throws a right at Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the second round of their super welterweight boxing match at T-Mobile Arena on August 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mayweather won by 10th-round TKO. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Conor McGregor (R) throws a right at Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the second round of their super welterweight boxing match at T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 26, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nev. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Pirates capitalize on large sporting events by either reaping the ad revenue from people who watch the stream illegally on their websites or by confusing unwitting people into paying to watch the fight online.

The cost to watch the fight was $99.95 in the United States, 19.95 pounds in the U.K., and 24.95 euros in McGregor’s home country Ireland.

“Live sports are a cornerstone of global piracy, with thousands of sites providing illegal content attracting millions of viewers,” said Rory O’Connor, senior vice president of cybersecurity services at Irdeto.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) hits Conor McGregor with a right in the 10th round of their super welterweight boxing match at T-Mobile Arena on August 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (R) hits Conor McGregor with a right in the 10th round of their super welterweight boxing match at T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 26, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nev. ( Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The pirates even advertised the illegal streams on the internet before the fight. Irdeto tracked 42 advertisements for the illegal streams in a single day on Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.

Some of these ads led unwitting people to professional looking websites that offered them to pay to watch the fight.

“I am not surprised by these numbers [released by Irdeto]—that’s right in line with what we saw,” Eric Feinberg, a founding partner of deep web analysis company GIPEC, told Fox News.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) and Conor McGregor pose for pictures during a news conference after Mayweather
Floyd Mayweather Jr. (L) and Conor McGregor pose for pictures during a news conference after Mayweather’s 10th-round TKO victory in their super welterweight boxing match on Aug. 26, 2017, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

“Some of the Facebook streams had 20,000, 30,000 views—I saw at least 25 individual Facebook Live unique video streams,” said Feinberg.

According to Fox Business, the number of legal pay-per-view purchases for the fight could reach 5 million.

The previous record was set at 4.6 million purchases two years ago when Mayweather fought Manny Pacquiao.

Saturday’s match lasted much longer than most experts predicted, with McGregor putting up an impressive offensive in the first three rounds. As McGregor’s endurance waned, Mayweather won the fight in the 10th round on a technical knockout.

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