Streaming Football HD - Live Football Streaming Online
The number of people watching illegal sports streams online, is currently estimated to be in the millions and despite the continual efforts of global authorities to stamp it out, the proliferation of these sports streaming sites continues apace.
Football teams, leagues and associations around the world are heavily invested in the internet for marketing and promoting their teams and all have official websites, with attendant memorabilia shops and many even show video clips of some of the on-field action. However, given the colossal amounts of money involved to these associations from television broadcasters, for exclusive rights to broadcast, there were bound to be issues surrounding the loss of guarantee to the exclusivity of these matches. The cost of broadcasting the Premier League matches in the UK is around £3bn a year, which equates to roughly £6.6m per match. The fact that these matches are then also made available on the internet, weakens the broadcasting company’s rights and reduces their income opportunities from the product. If the illegal online streaming of sports continues, broadcasters will be much more reluctant to pay the huge sums asked for these rights in future. Illegal sports streaming websites are estimated to cost the television industry in the UK alone, around £10 million each year.
The cost of television rights to broadcast sporting events has been steadily increasing, seemingly without pause, which adds to the ire of conventional broadcasting companies and is compelling them to take action. The lines were blurred somewhat in 2009, when England’s National teams qualifying matches were only shown online. This was perfectly legal, as the Football Association, who hold the official broadcasting rights to the games, chose to sell the exclusive broadcasting rights to one specific website. Clearly however, it is when these exclusive rights are overlooked by live-streaming websites and the subsequent matches disseminated by them, that legal issues arise.
Many of these live-streaming, peer-to-peer websites allow users to view football matches completely free of charge, which has gained them a huge following. Many outspoken commentators have stated that these websites are breaking free of the grip that big business has on today’s football and they are returning the game to the people, where it belongs. However, big businesses do not give up their income streams easily and in September 2014, a war was declared in the UK. A specialised task-force of officers from Greater Manchester Police and officers from the City of London Police force, the PIPCU, raided a house in Manchester and found what they termed as an ‘industrial’ online operation using 12 servers to stream thousands of games around the world and they arrested a 27-year-old man. The gentleman in question was charged with ‘Copyright Design and Patents Act 1988, money laundering, conspiracy to defraud and possessing or controlling an article for use in fraud.’ He appeared before Manchester magistrates but the case against him was dropped by prosecutors when it reached Manchester Crown Court.
Another recent development in the UK saw the Premier League along with a number of other sports rights holders, taking internet company Wiziwig to task over their alleged breach of copyright in January of this year. Recent changes in Spanish copyright laws allowed the extempore alliance to force Wiziwig to choose from two options, pay a whopping €600,000 fine, or close down their operations. Wiziwig chose to close their operations. This convoluted situation can be viewed as a generational issue, as a recent US poll suggested that more than half of young Americans, between the ages of 18 and 34 watched pirated content. These huge figures demonstrate that television is not the first screen of choice for this younger generation, which after all, is the most sought after advertising demographic. According to the Premier League’s own data, the average age of their fans is 41, so there is much repositioning to come, as although a few skirmishes have been won, the war is far from over.