FREE Mayweather vs McGregor live streams will be watched by 3 million Britons this weekend, new research has found, despite the clampdown on illegal sport streams and tough new legal penalties.
Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor will face-off this weekend for a fight that looks set to break all pay-per-view records.
Mayweather, the best boxer of his generation – temporarily out-of-retirement for this bout, is set to take on UFC's biggest star, Conor McGregor, in the T-Mobile arena, Las Vegas.
According to research conducted exclusively for Express.co.uk, more than 8 million Brits plan to watch the McGregor vs Mayweather fight this weekend.
According to research by popular comparison site Finder.com, over one in three viewers plan to watch the fight illegally (33.99 per cent).
Millennials are the biggest fans – with 31.81 per cent planning to watch the fight. However, Baby Boomers are the worst culprits of illegal downloading or streaming, as 37.04 per cent plan to watch it illegally.
Jon Ostler, Finder.com CEO told Express.co.uk, “People don’t want to shell out £19.95 to watch the fight this weekend so it’s not surprising that a high number of people are willing to watch it illegally.
“However unless you are willing to risk viruses on your laptop or even legal action, there are cheaper, more convenient options to watch the fight that many people may not be aware of.
Those three million Britons looking to stream the Mayweather vs McGregor fight illegally face dropouts in the stream, malware from illicit sites – as well as tough new UK legal penalties.
US broadcaster Showtime has already obtained a preliminary injunction from a federal court in California that targets a number of sites known to illegal broadcast paid-for sports coverage.
Showtime and HBO will screen the fight on pay-per-view in the United States, with viewers asked to $99.95 for the privilege to watch in High Definition.
Sky will charge £19.95 across its "self-service" bookings (remote control / online) and £26.95 if booked via the phone (either IVR or agent).
The preliminary injunction issued by the Californian court means finding a free stream could be a very tough.
Showtime’s complaint listed 44 separate web domains advertising the fight – most of them using a variation on “Mayweather vs McGregor” as the URL.
Attorney Dennis Wilson said: “Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have engaged in such keyword stuffing as a form of search engine optimisation in an effort to attract as much web traffic as possible in the form of Internet users searching for a way to access a live stream of the Fight.”
US District judge André Birotte Jr. has approved the preliminary injunction, which blocks the operators behind these sites from offering the streaming services advertised.
Premier League bosses said the High Court order was a “game-changer” in the crackdown on illegal streams since it requires Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to block users from illegally accessing streams of matches online.
More than 5,000 server IP addresses were blocked almost immediately last week, thanks to the injunction.
It’s possible the US injunction could have a similar effect on the Mayweather vs McGregor fight.
According to research commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office, some 7 million Britons are now guilty of online piracy – with 13 per cent of those using a modified set-top box to stream copyrighted material.