Kenyans Lead in Illegal Streaming of EPL Matches

Kenya is among top five countries illegally enjoying streaming English Premier League (EPL) matches denying soccer clubs billions of shillings in revenues.

The study by AI-powered sports sponsorship and marketing technology firm GumGum Sports and global authority on digital piracy Muso was commissioned by an undisclosed elite EPL club. It found China, Vietnam, Kenya, India and Nigeria enjoyed the billion-shillings content for free benefitting advertisers but not the clubs.

"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," stated Muso co-founder and chief executive Andy Chatterley.

Mr Chatterley said sports rights owners now understand that uncaptured audiences help drive value for advertised products. The CEO said they are embarking on a study to establish the value of uncaptured piracy audiences globally to enable club managers to understand better before inking future sponsorship deals.

EPL is a major driver of the multi-billion-shilling betting industry in Kenya that last year raked in Sh204 billion in revenues with a paltry Sh4 billion paid as taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority.

Telcos also benefit from fees earned from paybill transactions conducted by betters placing bets via the mobile payment platforms. On Wednesday, the government withdrew licences for 27 companies affecting 12 million accounts saying the firms had failed to pay taxes while 19 companies had licences withdrawn. Eight other firms had decisions on whether the licences should be renewed or not deferred to facilitate further scrutiny.

GumGum and Muso studied eight matches spanning the 2018-19 season where they discovered a total of 7.1 million viewers enjoyed illegal streaming.

Illegally streamed audiences in the US and the UK stood at position 10 and 11 respectively with each match generating over Sh129 million in lost sponsorship value. Of the seven deal placements analysed, the majority of value came from field-side LED (rotating digital creative) and kit (front-of-jersey) sponsorship placements.

"Clubs and sponsors have never been able to quantify media exposure from unauthorised streaming, which over the years amounts to billions of dollars in unrealised value," said GumGum Sports general manager, Brian Kim. "Now we have a unique data set that gives an advantage to brand sponsors," he said.

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