English Premier League's (EPL) clubs could be losing out on as much as £1m in sponsorship media value per match as a result of illegal online streaming.
The finding arrives from a study produced by GumGum Sports in partnership with Muso, a digital piracy authority, at the behest of an unnamed EPL team.
The study focused on eight matches spanning the 2018-19 season, where each game drew in an average audience of 7.1million fans across 149 countries.
It found that China had the largest pirated audience, where illegal streams served more than one million fans per match. After China, illegal streaming was most prolific in Vietnam, Kenya, India and Nigeria. The US and UK had the 10th and 11th largest piracy audiences.
The report went further to break down its £1m-per-match finding by on-pitch sponsor. It found that of the seven deal placements analysed, the majority of value came from field-side LED and kit sponsorship placement.
GumGum Sport and Muso claim that this is the first study to incorporate digital piracy consumption into a cross-channel sponsorship measurement solution alongside traditional broadcast, streaming, social and digital.
Brian Kim, GumGum Sports' general manager explained that clubs and sponsors have never been able to quantify media exposure from unauthorized streaming which "over the years amounts to billions of dollars in unrealized value".
“Now we have a unique data set that gives an advantage to brand sponsors while also enabling clubs to better demonstrate the value they’re driving on behalf of corporate partners," he added.
Muso's co-founder and chief exec, Andy Chatterley said: “Piracy audiences have too long been disregarded as offering no real value to rights holders and distributors, but the reality is that these huge audiences still see the same shirt sponsors and commercials as people watching the game via a licensed channel.”
“Sports rights owners are now waking up to the fact that they are leaving sponsorship money on the table by not measuring, understanding and gaining insight from the piracy audience - and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with GumGum to change the perception of piracy audiences’ value.”