Mayweather vs McGregor. Boxing vs UFC.
Such was the scale of the fight that millions of people around the world tuned in Sunday morning to watch Floyd Mayweather successfully defend his perfect boxing reputation with a 10th round stoppage against UFC fighter Connor McGregor.
But of those watching the fight, a large portion did so via less than legal means, with research before the big night showing that some three million intended to watch the fight illegally online.
You might be thinking you’re fine because you never saw any code on the screen, but supposedly the watermarked code wasn’t visible during the entire 10 rounds.
So, it’s quite possible that amid the flurry of flying fists you could have overlooked it. Especially if the stream was less than stellar, to begin with.
Torrent Freak who first reported the news has since suggested that the string of code could have been intentionally placed into the stream by broadcasters licensed to stream the fight, such as Sky, in a bid to track down pirates illegally sharing the fight online.
“According to our sources, these codes didn’t appear when the main action was taking place but when the camera turned to people in each corner,” writes Torrent Freak.
“Since no digits appeared over the top of the fight itself, it might suggest that they were put there by a broadcaster, in this instance Sky Box Office, who were licensed to show the fight in the UK.
“If that was indeed the case, it’s certainly possible that the sequence of numbers would allow Sky to track the illicit stream back to a subscriber and/or a set-top box tied to a particular account.
“Since that subscriber has then re-streamed that content back online illegally, the code would act as a homing beacon and could spell bad news for the individual involved.”
Torrent Freak also argue that the codes could have been placed over the stream by someone in the “illicit streaming market.”
“Pirate streams are vulnerable to being ‘stolen’ in much the same way that official streams are, so it’s possible that a provider wanted to keep tabs on where its streams were ending up,” TorrentFreak concluded.