HomeSportsMore than one in seven Maltese admit to streaming sports illegally

More than one in seven Maltese admit to streaming sports illegally


Related stories


More than one in seven Maltese said they streamed sports matches illegally – just slightly more than the European average, according to a recent study by the EU intellectual property office.

Last year, 13% of Maltese citizens said they had streamed sports content from illegal sources in the 12 months leading up to the IP [intellectual property] Perception Study 2023.

This was one per cent above the EU average and put Malta in eleventh place out of the 27 countries from across the bloc. The biggest offenders were Bulgaria (21%), Greece (20%) and Spain (19%), with Hungary (6%) watching the least pirated sports content.

The proportion of young Maltese streaming sports illegally was more than double the country average, with more than a quarter (28%) of those aged 15 to 24 admitting to the practice – a trend reflected across the bloc.

But while more than one in seven Maltese seem happy to stream sports content illegally, far fewer are willing to purchase fake sports gear, the study found.

Just 4% of Maltese said they had knowingly bought fake sports equipment in the previous year – the lowest across the bloc and less than half the EU average (10%) – while just 3% of Maltese said they had done so unwittingly.

The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) said around half a million euros were lost in Malta each year to counterfeit sports goods, representing just over 12% of all sales in the sector. On an EU level €851 million accounted for losses of 11% of the total.

Calling the trend of illegal streaming “concerning”, the EUIPO said it was a “substantial threat to the financing of sports,” with revenues from broadcasts “critical” to supporting the sector.

The release comes just days before the UEFA European Championship kicks off in Germany, which in its last outing in 2020 generated almost €1.9 billion, according to data from statistics website Statista.

And while the recent EUIPO study focuses on sports streaming, a separate study from the same organisation in September found that overall digital piracy in the EU had increased by just over 3% in 2022, reversing a downward trend seen previously.

The September report found that TV shows were the most heavily pirated content, accounting for nearly half of all piracy, while noting that illegal streaming of live sports events was also on the rise, having risen by almost a third between 2021 and 2022.

Meanwhile, more than 1,800 pieces of fake luxury brand jewellery were seized at Maltese borders in 2022 as part of Europol’s ‘Operation Fake Star’ targeting counterfeit goods.

The operation has netted more than 500,000 fake footwear items, 1.1 million sportswear items and almost 5.5 million fake brand labels across the bloc, leading to the arrest of more than 250 people.

The IP Perception Study 2023 surveyed almost 26,000 people in January and February last year, with just over 500 Maltese quizzed in the survey carried out online.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories