Scale of the piracy problem
The threats posed to the funding of sport by media rights piracy is nothing new. However, as recognised by the European Parliament in its resolution published 19 May 2021, developments in digital technology and the proliferation of access to digital content (in particular through IPTV) have, in turn, increased the potential exposure of sports fans to pirated content.
In its report prepared in December 2020, the European Parliamentary Research Service found that in 2019:
- 6 million subscriptions were made to illegal broadcasting platforms in the EU;
- these subscriptions generated illicit subscription revenues of an estimated 522 million EUR; and
- if the same number of subscriptions were made legally, authorised broadcasters’ revenues could increase by 3.4 billion EUR each year.
Furthermore, a report published this year by Synamedia and Ampere Analysis has found that sports rights holders and streaming services lost $28.3 billion globally as a result of piracy in 2020.