Thousands pirate Champions League final − despite it being shown for free

Hundreds of thousands of people watched last weekend’s Champions League final illegally, new data has shown.

Broadcasters and anti-piracy campaigners have worked hard to combat illegal streaming this season, but it appears they’ve still got a long way to go.

Related: Best Kodi box

Cybersecurity firm Irdeto detected 427 illegal streams redistributing the Liverpool vs Real Madrid game on Saturday.

Of these, 133 were available on dedicated pirate sites, 199 could be found on social media platforms including Periscope, Facebook and Twitch, and 95 were available through illicit Kodi addons.

The social media streams alone reached an estimated 217,000 viewers. Irdeto isn’t able to track viewer numbers for the other sources, but they’re likely to have been viewed by hundreds of thousands more people.

The numbers are surprisingly high, as the match − which Madrid won 3-1 after Sergio Ramos took star man Mohamed Salah out of the game early and Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius gifted the Spanish side two goals − was being live-streamed for free on YouTube.

Ahead of the final, Roma were the most popular Champions League side amongst pirates, with more illegal streams dedicated to them (1476) than any other side that reached the last 16.

UEFA obtained an injunction midway through this season, which was designed to make illegal streams much easier to block in real-time. The figures above suggest there’s much more to be done.

Related: Best Kodi addons

“Criminals have targeted premium sports content such as the European Champions League and are earning a fortune from stealing the rights,” said Rory O’Connor, Irdeto’s senior vice president of cybersecurity services.

“This makes it crucial for content owners, rights holders and platform owners to work together and enlist technology and proactive services to take down streams in real-time.”

What do you think it will take to get people to stop pirating sports? Share your thoughts @TrustedReviews.