Home News Growing partnership between streaming and black-market bookmakers 'threatens sport integrity'… after 500,000...

Growing partnership between streaming and black-market bookmakers 'threatens sport integrity'… after 500,000 viewers watched Anthony Joshua fight with Francis Ngannou illegally

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  • A Mail Sport investigation revealed an explosion in black-market betting activity 
  • Analysis of Joshua v Ngannou and the Saudi Grand Prix highlighted the problem 
  • Findings will be worry legitimate sports rights holders and licensed bookmakers 

Illegal streaming companies are working with black-market bookmakers to attract sports fans by offering free bets and ad-free viewing subscriptions to customers, with over 500,000 viewers watching last weekend’s Anthony Joshua/Francis Ngannou fight illegally. 

A Mail Sport investigation yesterday revealed details of an explosion in black-market betting activity in this country, which appears closely linked to the more established threat of piracy and illegal streaming.

Analysis of online traffic on Joshua v Ngannou and the Saudia Arabia grand prix conducted by internet analysts Yield Sec shows the extent of the problem, which will be deeply worrying for legitimate sports rights holders and licensed bookmakers. Yield Sec’s special investigation last weekend has uncovered a number of striking insights, including:

  • 547,924 viewers across the world watched Joshua’s second-round knockout of Ngannou without paying for it, with 98,626 of the illegal streams traced to the UK, 18 per cent of the total.
  • The lost value of the pirated content on that single six-minute bout in the UK alone was £1.92million based on almost 100,000 people refusing to pay the £20 pay-per-fee being charged by rights holders Sky Sports and DAZN.
Over 500,000 viewers watched Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou's fight for free

Over 500,000 viewers watched Anthony Joshua and Francis Ngannou’s fight for free

The loss to UK rights holders alone was £1.92million based on the £20 pay-per-fee charged

The loss to UK rights holders alone was £1.92million based on the £20 pay-per-fee charged

Just under 20,000 online gambling operators offered betting markets on the Saudi Grand Prix in jurisdictions which they had no local licensing for

Just under 20,000 online gambling operators offered betting markets on the Saudi Grand Prix in jurisdictions which they had no local licensing for

  • Illegal streams were found in over 1000 different locations, the vast majority of which featured adverts for unlicensed betting companies.
  • Just under 20,000 online gambling operators offered betting markets on the Saudi grand prix into jurisdictions which they had no local licensing for, with almost 20 per cent of the unlicensed betting offers coming with a ‘free’ viewing of the race courtesy of illegal streaming partners.
  • Illegal betting operators providing markets on both Joshua/Ngannou and the grand prix offered ad-free illegal streaming ‘subscriptions’ as loyalty incentives in return for placing certain types of bet, indicating a clear strategy of cross promotion.

Yield Sec chief executive officer Ismail Vali told Mail Sport that their findings clearly demonstrate the growing partnership between illegal streaming and betting companies, which he believes present a threat to the integrity of sport and its future revenues.

‘This convergence of illegal betting and streaming further underscores a significant threat to the integrity of sports,’ Vali said. ‘It shows the urgent need for a comprehensive approach to monitoring and enforcement, for the protection of consumers, revenue and our cultural events.

‘Illegal streaming providers capitalise on the restrictions faced by legal operators, offering viewers an array of choice that legal platforms cannot match. By bundling their offerings with ad-supported content, often linked to illegal gambling, illegal streamers not only siphon revenue from the legitimate industry, but also entrench their position by catering to a global audience seeking unrestricted access to content.

‘This sophisticated exploitation of market limitations highlights the urgent need for coordinated international efforts to address the root causes of illegal streaming and gambling.’