But the fight still made hundreds of millions.
Last weekend’s Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight was a sports marketing match made in heaven. It brought together the fan bases of the UFC and boxing — along with those who couldn’t resist the hype — to watch the controversial fighters duke it out in Vegas. Although final pay-per-view numbers have yet to roll in, it’s estimated the fight’s purse will be worth over $700 million.
The estimated figures are incredible, but they could have been much higher. According to Irdeto, a software security technology and cyber services company, nearly 2,930,598 viewers watched the fight over 239 illegal streams identified by the firm. 67 of those were previously known, while many others sprang up just for Mayweather-McGregor. Pirates exploited multiple channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, and Twitch to illegally distribute the event.
In addition to the live streams, an estimated 445,000 internet users illegally downloaded the fight after its conclusion. According to the New York Post, if all of the people who watched the fight illegally had paid to see it on pay-per-view, it could have brought in an additional $200 million in revenue. It cost $99.95 to watch the event on pay-per-view in the U.S., compared to £19.95 (about $26) in the U.K. and €24.95 (about $30) in Ireland.
Mayweather defeated McGregor in the 10th round in a TKO decision.