Eddie Hearn has slammed boxing fans who illegally streamed Tyson Fury’s victory against Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday evening.
The fight was one of the most highly anticipated contests in recent years following their thrilling and controversial draw in December 2018.
According to reports, Fury’s rematch with Wilder received 750,000 pay-per-view buys in the United States, which is the highest rate for a heavyweight fight through since Lennox Lewis versus Mike Tyson in 2002.
To watch the fight in the United States, the pay-per-view price was $79.99 (£62) and many boxing fans turned to illegal streams to catch the action.
But Hearn, who promotes Anthony Joshua and works closely with Sky Sports and DAZN, an subscription-based sports streaming service, believes those who rely on illegal streams are taking money from the two fighters in the ring.
‘One of the problems is, there is so many illegal streams now when the price becomes unbearable to the customer,’ Hearn told IFL TV.
‘One thing I’ll tell you about illegal streams is people think that it’s clever, it’s illegal by the way, that’s why it’s called an illegal stream, but people think it’s clever… you’re taking money out of the fighters’ pockets.
‘On pay per views the money goes to the fighters. Don’t think it’s affecting me, because it’s not. It might be a tiny bit but not what it’s affecting the fighter.
‘The thing about illegal streams is if you’re price point is £19.99, with the undercard you’ve got to give value for five or six hours for the night.
‘You’ve got to sell to the customer an experience where you sit down, you can watch world championship boxing, great young fighters, 50-50 fights, and then build to the main event.
‘Not there’s a main event and I don’t even know who’s on the undercard.
‘So when it’s £19.99 you can say to the customer, sit down, it’s great value all night, you’re going to watch it in beautiful in high definition without some thing [advert] popping up, and you can enjoy the show.
‘When it’s £65 or £60 like an American pay-per-view [price] it’s going to encourage illegal streaming because that’s a lot of money.
‘I would believe the illegal streams for that particular show were through the roof because people don’t want to pay £65 any more, they are sick and tired of it.
‘What DAZN are doing with a £99 annual subscription, that’s virtually what you’re paying for one pay-per-view night otherwise. I think more and more people are trying to stream.
‘On the illegal streams, just understand that you’re actually depriving the fighter of money, but more importantly at £19.95 do you really want to fire up an illegal stream where it keeps popping off [with adverts] and the stream is behind and actually you’re watching something that happened four minutes ago?
‘No one wants to pay the money, I understand that. Boxing fans don’t want to pay £20 for a show but that’s how it is.’
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