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Illegal Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou Stream Raises Sport Integrity Concerns



Illegal streaming companies have forged partnerships with black-market bookmakers, enticing sports enthusiasts with enticing offers such as free bets and ad-free viewing subscriptions. A recent revelation from a Mail Sport investigation uncovered a surge in underground betting activities closely tied to the longstanding issue of piracy and illicit streaming.


Last weekend's highly anticipated Anthony Joshua vs. Francis Ngannou fight drew a staggering 547,924 illegal viewers worldwide, with 98,626 of these streams originating from the UK alone, constituting 18% of the total. The estimated loss in revenue from pirated content in the UK during this single event amounted to £1.92 million, as nearly 100,000 individuals opted out of paying the £20 pay-per-view fee charged by rights holders Sky Sports and DAZN.


Further analysis conducted by internet analysts Yield Sec shed light on the scope of the issue. Over 1,000 different locations hosted illegal streams, predominantly featuring advertisements for unlicensed betting operators. Nearly 20,000 online gambling platforms offered betting markets on the Saudi Grand Prix, even in jurisdictions where they lacked proper licensing. Alarmingly, almost 20% of these unlicensed betting offers included 'free' viewing of the race through illegal streaming platforms.


Moreover, illegal betting operators enticed customers with ad-free illegal streaming 'subscriptions' as incentives for placing certain bets, indicating a coordinated strategy of cross-promotion.


Ismail Vali, CEO of Yield Sec, warned of the concerning trend, stating, "This convergence of illegal betting and streaming further underscores a significant threat to the integrity of sports. It shows the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to monitoring and enforcement, for the protection of consumers, revenue, and our cultural events."


Vali emphasised the sophisticated exploitation of market limitations by illegal streaming providers, which not only diverts revenue from legitimate platforms but also caters to a global audience seeking unrestricted access to content.


Addressing this issue requires coordinated international efforts to tackle the root causes of illegal streaming and gambling, as Vali stressed the necessity of urgent action to safeguard the integrity of sports and preserve their future revenues.

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