Even though we’re a nation of sports and football lovers, it seems like we aren’t prepared to financially support the TV broadcasters of the game.
According to a recent poll by the BBC, more than a third of Premier League football fans regularly watch matches via unofficial streams; an activity that is illegal in the UK but becoming increasingly popular amongst fans wanting to cut their TV costs.
The poll suggested that younger adults are more likely to watch illegal football match streams via unauthorized providers, whilst nearly 25% of all respondents said that they regularly watch games via special technology – including Kodi boxes.
Currently, BT and Sky Sports hold the rights for streaming live Premier League football games and the law is being reported to catch-up with pirates as the Association continues to protect their copyright.
According to the survey, the main reason for opting to watch the football on these illegal and unofficial streams is because a member of their family or other friend is doing it, too. The quality of the stream and the opinion that sports TV packages aren’t good value for money were also big reasons.
Despite this rise in unofficial streams, just under a third of footy fans don’t know the legalities behind watching them, but a third realized that it is always illegal.
The Premier League is cracking down on protecting the value of their TV deals after Sky and BT Sports paid a record £5.316 billion for the rights to show football matches for across three continuous seasons. However, last year saw the biggest reduction in people watching the sport through the TV. Sky saw a 14% drop of viewers whilst BT channels reduced by 2%.
Kieron Sharp, director general of the Federation against Copyright Theft (Fact), said: “People need to be aware that this is no longer a grey area, in fact it is very black and white.
“If you are accessing content for free such as sport, TV and films for which you’d normally need a subscription, or go to the cinema, or buy a DVD, this is illegal.
“As the old saying goes, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.”