Industry experts are expecting thousands of illegal livestreams to pop up across the net for the upcoming Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam boxing bout on Saturday.
British super-heavyweight Joshua, 28, is the reigning IBO, WBA and IBF champion after knocking out Ukrainian Wladimir Klitschko in front of a record 90,000 fans at Wembley Stadium in April 2017.
He was due to defend his titles against mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, but the Bulgarian pulled out injured, leaving 36-year-old Cameroonian Carlos Takem to step into the ring.
Joshua fights Takam on Saturday 28 October at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.
Sky Box Office has the rights in the UK, while US channel Showtime broadcasts the fight in the US.
How to watch Anthony Joshua vs Takam fight (legally)
Sky Box Office HD is on channel 492, while a standard definition stream of the fight will be broadcast on channel 491.
It’ll cost you £19.95, or €24.95 for customers in the Republic of Ireland.
You’ll need to sign up and sign in at www.skysports.com/boxofficelive.
Make an account and you can watch on your Android phone or tablet, NowTV box, iPhone, iPad or Windows/Mac PC or laptop.
Subscribers can buy the fight online or call 03442 410 888.
Who will win?
Carlos Takam has stepped in at short notice and so can not be fully battle ready. He will have had only two or three weeks to prepare and is the major underdog given Joshua’s status.
Anthony Joshua told Sky Sports he was confident of winning but was wary of Takam’s style.
“He is durable. He will become more durable because he’ll be in hostile territory.
“I think we’re going for a 10 to 12 round fight because this guy’s head is like a block of cement.”
Pirate quality deals knockout blow
Consumer demand for live sports is at an all-time high.
But the viewing experience is not always what it’s cracked up to be.
Security experts Irdeto say that pirated streams across thousands of sites will offer the fight for free – if only people know where to look.
A cursory Googling of ‘Joshua Takam livestream’ brings up hundreds of potential and promised pirated video streams.
While record numbers watched Joshua beat Klitschko, more than two million people in the US alone viewed illegal livestreams instead of through legal pay per view.
It started with Mayweather vs McGregor
When Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather outclassed MMA specialist Conor McGregor on 26 August 2017, more than 3 million US viewers tuned in to 239 illegal streams of the fight across both traditional pirate streaming websites and social media channels.
UFC president Dana White claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the match broke records in Australia, UK, US, Spain and Canada, pulling in 6.7 million pay per view buys across the globe.
He also claims that the much-hyped fight was the most bet-on sporting event in the history of Las Vegas.
According to Irdeto, it is up to pay TV operators to differentiate themselves from pirates, who are becoming more sophisticated by the day.
Pirates have become more business savvy, investing in product marketing and advertising of illegal services.
The Mayweather vs. McGregor match proved that two fights are still underway: the battle against piracy and the battle for pay-TV operators to provide a seamless and secure experience to consumers.
In just one day in the week leading up to the bout, Irdeto identified 42 advertisements for illicit streaming devices offering Mayweather vs. McGregor on e-commerce websites, including Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.- Irdeto Blog
Better viewing through chemistry
Joshua vs Takam could produce many more illegal streams.
And while the fight could secure a mega payday for broadcasters, they need to make sure they have the bandwidth in place so millions can log-on and watch on their phone or tablet wherever they are.
Irdeto write: “While consumers were eager to see the money fight, it’s safe to say that not everyone tuning in had a positive viewing experience.
“Many streams were dropped during the broadcast and others did not provide the HD quality that consumers expect.
“Understandably, this resulted in angry consumers and even sparked a class-action lawsuit against Showtime. One cited that Showtime rushed the streaming service to viewers and did so without securing the bandwidth it needed to sufficiently stream the fight.
“This is a huge issue as consumers were paying high prices (up to $99.95 in the US) to watch the fight.
“No matter what the price, consumers expect a flawless broadcast. Next time consumers may not be as willing to pay the premium price for what they assume will be another poor experience and seek out a pirate option instead.”
Sky, Showtime and the rest must deliver what they promised – secure, stable livestreams across TV, Windows, Mac, Android and iOS.
At the same time, they need to heavily watermark their video streams and actively takedown pirate copies in real time.
MAIN IMAGE: BBC3/Youtube