The numbers could be affected by the Premier League’s attempt to move to pay-per-view
A study from consumer comparison site Finder has estimated that roughly two milion Brits watched an illegally streamed Premier League match in 2020.
The report from Finder included a survey of 2,000 Brits that took place in December, asking questions about their streaming providers.
It found that 4% of respondents admitted to using illegal streams of Premier League matches, with 3% using illegal streams of other sport. According to the study, this 4% translates as almost two million across the UK.
These high numbers may reflect some of the backlash to the Premier League’s attempt to make games pay-per-view back in October and November.
The short-lived scheme charged fans £14.95 to watch games, but led to discontent amongst viewers and reportedly low viewing figures. According to the Daily Mail, the games on pay-per-view attracted an average of 39,000 viewers – with three matches having less than 10,000 tuning in.
In addition, the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), a trade body set up to protect intellectual property in TV and film, pointed to lockdown increasing the numbers of those willing to use illegal streams.
CEO Kieron Sharp said: “In May, our scanning team removed more than double the volume of film links and illegal streams [that were live] in April, compared to February.”
TV publisher at Finder, Aaron McAllister, said that new, cheaper services such as DAZN may be the answer to defeating this issue: “DAZN is available in the UK for just £1.99 per month and creates a low barrier to entry for consumers. It’s far cheaper than the traditional ways of having to pay for boxing pay-per-view, which helps to discourage illegal streams.”