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.
Of those, some 3 million intend to watch the fight illegally online.
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.
Mayweather vs McGregor live stream WARNING
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
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.
“We’re encouraging people to investigate the option that suits best!”
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.
In the UK, Sky Box Office will broadcast the fight.
Mayweather vs McGregor is expected to be one of the biggest events for live streams
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.
The injunction is similar to the High Court order obtained by the Premier League earlier this summer.
Mayweather vs McGregor – Sky will charge £19.95 to watch the fight
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.
That’s a significant step-up from the five million people in the UK that use pirated TV streaming services via so-called Kodi Boxes, Amazon Fire TV Chipped Sticks, and illegal streaming apps, according to YouGov data from earlier this year.
Back in May, the Digital Economy Act received royal assent – and increased the maximum jail sentence for copyright infringement in the UK from two to three years.
Separately, the European Court of Justice ruled that streaming copyright-protected material without the right-holders permission was illegal.
The combination of this landmark ruling and the increase in sanctions for those who infringe copyright has led some developers to abandon Kodi.
In early June, Kodi fans saw one of the most popular destinations for third-party add-ons removed from the web.
TVAddons, which hosted a number of add-ons that enabled free streaming of copyright-protected material, including paid-for sport fixtures like Mayweather vs McGregor, was taken offline completely.
Writing on its official blog, Kodi said: “Due to recent legal action against websites and repositories promoting add-ons that use pirated (stolen) media content, many have shut-down their services.
“This is driving a large increase in users complaining in our forums and on social media about their ‘Kodi Box’ no longer working.”
Kodi is a neutral, open-source media player that can be installed on a broad range of devices – from discount set-top boxes powered by Android, to known brands, like Amazon Fire TV Stick.
However, Kodi has gained an unfortunate reputation thanks to the way some third-party developers leverage the platform.
Set-top boxes – built by a variety of different hardware manufacturers – and sold with the Kodi media player preinstalled alongside a number of add-ons and plugins designed to facilitate piracy are colloquially referred to as Kodi Boxes.
A number of arrests have already been made in the ongoing crackdown on so-called Kodi Boxes.
Police arrested a 53 year-old man and seized a stash of some 40 Android-powered set-top boxes preloaded with the Kodi media plater and other third-party software back in July.
A man was arrested and the so-called Kodi Boxes were taken away. The devices were being sold online for some £100 per unit.
According to Westminster Council, an investigation had revealed that the set-top boxes were preloaded with third-party Kodi add-ons that allowed owners to stream copyrighted content, including premium television channels, movies and sport, for free.
Millions are expected to live stream the fight via TV Players such as Kodi
Mayweather vs McGregor live stream WARNING
Earlier in the month, Derbyshire Police executed a warrant at a property in Derby as part of its ongoing crackdown on devices that enable viewers to illegally stream subscription services.
The warrant was obtained as part of a joint investigation with anti-piracy body FACT.
A large amount of cash was seized during the warrant, along with various pieces of electronic equipment.
A 29-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of fraud, money laundering and copyright offences and has been released under investigation while inquiries continue.
Speaking at the time, FACT CEO Kieron Sharp said: “This collaboration between Derbyshire police and FACT is another step forward in disrupting the sale of illegal streaming devices.
“People may think there is nothing wrong with having one of these devices and streaming premium pay-for channels for free, such as live sports.
“However this is illegal and you would be breaking the law.
“Don’t be fooled by devices that offer you the latest Hollywood films and premium pay-for-view sports for no charge.
“If you want to watch this kind of content we strongly advise you go directly to the official provider to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law.”