More than a third of Premier League football fans say they regularly watch matches live online via unofficial streams, according to a BBC Radio 5 survey.
The report, which was published by the BBC, states that younger adults are most likely to say they stream matches via unauthorised providers. Nearly a quarter of all fans surveyed regularly watch matches online via special technology, such as Kodi boxes.
The Premier League has become more vigilant and is looking to actively protect the value of its TV deal, after Sky and BT Sport paid a record USD 6.64bn for rights to show live matches for three seasons.
Last season, however, saw the biggest drop in live Premier League TV viewing figures for seven years, hitting both Sky and BT. Sky saw a 14% drop, while viewing of BT channels dropped by 2%.
While this may have been in part due to the use of alternative legal platforms such as Sky Go and Now TV, piracy has also contributed significantly to the drop.
Other details from the poll:
- 36% of supporters said they streamed live Premier League matches online through an unofficial provider at least once a month, and 22% at least once a week.
- 47% of fans have watched a match through an unofficial provider at least once in the past.
- Younger fans (aged 18-34) are considerably more likely than their older counterparts to say they stream live football matches online through an unofficial provider
- 65% do so at least once a month compared to 33% of 35-54 year olds and 13% of those aged 55+.
- Of those fans who stream matches illegally, the most popular reasons are because a friend/family member does it and they just watch (29%); because the quality of online streaming is good (25%) and because sports TV packages are not good value for money (24%).
- 12% of Premier League fans think it is legal to stream games online (not through an official provider), while 34% think it is always illegal and 32% don’t know; 4% believe it is not breaking the law but Sky or BT could fine you if they find out, 7% think it is sometimes illegal, and 10% believe it is legal to watch but illegal to upload a stream.