The EFL, which administers the second, third and fourth tiers of professional football in England, alongside all 72 of its member Clubs, has launched a campaign aimed at discouraging the illegal streaming of fixtures, warning that doing so will take vital revenue away from Clubs.
The outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent behind-closed-doors matches mean that income generated by streaming on the League’s official service, iFollow (or club equivalent service), is more important than ever, and remains one of the only income streams available at this challenging time.
Illegal streaming, therefore, is having a greater impact on Clubs whilst supporters are unable to attend matches. The EFL and its Clubs could potentially lose around a third of income from illegal streaming this season, a figure which is potentially much higher when factoring in every illegal stream.
Statistics show that over half of sports fans consume sports content from pirate services at least once a month. Over 7,000 illegal EFL streams have been detected so far this season, with an average of 170 people viewing each stream, totalling almost 1.2 million people. Supporters in the UK accessing iFollow (or club equivalent) via a VPN are also accessing the stream illegally.
Failure to comply with the terms set out when subscribing to iFollow is a serious breach and allows the EFL to terminate the subscription. Clubs streaming through their own services are likely to have very similar rights in their terms and conditions.
The EFL and its Clubs take piracy incredibly seriously, working with a specialist security agency to seek out illegal streams on all formats proactively and taking action against businesses and individuals.
Supporters are therefore encouraged to report any illegal streams, or pubs that may be showing EFL content unlawfully,.