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Facebook and YouTube Are Full of Pirated Video Streams of Live NFL Games (cnbc.com) 231

Pirated video streams of televised National Football League games are widespread on Facebook and on Google's YouTube service, CNBC has found. From a report: Using technology from these internet giants, thousands of football fans were able to watch long segments of many contests free of charge during the league's Week 13 schedule of games last Thursday and Sunday. Dozens of these video streams, pirated from CBS and NBC broadcasts, featured ads from well-known national brands interspersed with game action. This online activity comes as the league struggles with declining ratings that have been blamed variously on player protests during the national anthem and revelations about former players suffering from a brain disease caused by concussions. Yet this illegal distribution of NFL content may also be crimping the league's viewer numbers.

Facebook and YouTube Are Full of Pirated Video Streams of Live NFL Games

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  • It's a video of me petting my cat. The fact that the game occupies 99% of the video and the audio is directly fed from the tv is totally not the point.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:23PM (#55689311)

    illegal distribution is not what is affecting numbers. It's how hard it is to watch the games. Outdated policies on which games can be run by the local affiliates, MNF on ESPN, Thursday night football on who-knows-where... and an all access sunday ticket available only through DirectTV for $300. This is a symptom of a larger issue.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Yup, my wife no longer watches sporting events. We'd have to have a $150 a month cable package AND pay $20 a month to watch. Back to no cable for us, and the odd netflix or youtube show plus OTA broadcasts.
    • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:49PM (#55689589)

      This is exactly why I watch less football. I can't find an option that will let me stream whatever live games I want. There are all kinds of packages I *could* buy, but they don't want to sell me what I actually want. If you go to the NFL's site you can see hey, watch all 256 games! But they're not live. OK fine, here's some live games but the one you want to watch isn't available because it's "out of market", whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean to me. Or here, every game live, for only 4 times as much as you want to pay and part of an entire cable TV package. I don't know why they don't understand that the old model of licensing specific games to specific networks is now costing them money if they are giving out exclusive deals so the games can only be shown in that one place. So, in my house, if Kodi is up for the job then we find a stream, and it not then I don't watch or just listen to the radio. Once they figure out that it might be a good idea to sell me what I want to buy then I'm happy to spend the money. Otherwise if I really, really need to watch that game I'll just go out to somewhere showing it. Either way, the NFL is leaving my money on the table.

      • by habig ( 12787 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @03:13PM (#55690305) Homepage

        This is exactly why I watch less football. I can't find an option that will let me stream whatever live games I want. There are all kinds of packages I *could* buy, but they don't want to sell me what I actually want.

        This! I used to be able to subscribe to audio of games on nfl.com for ~$25-$30 a season. Living "out of market", I can't listen on the radio while doing whatever else consumes a Sunday afternoon. I used to be able to hand over some $$ to the nfl and listen to my team's radio guys over the internet.

        But, they stopped that service. Now, if you want the radio, you have to pay $100 or more for a package of recorded TV broadcasts. I have no interest in watching the game later, it's live sports. So, they don't get my $30 anymore because they more than tripled the price and added in something completely worthless to me in exchange.

      • Yep, same with me. I don't care at all about any NFL games except for my local team. Currently, within my family, only my parents still subscribe to cable. So, every few weeks, we all gather there to watch the Sunday game and enjoy dinner afterwards. Otherwise, I just listen to the radio at home. I was able to watch ONE game this season because Amazon Prime Video streamed Thursday night games.

        If the NFL sold per-season streaming for specific teams (or heaven forbid, even games on demand) for a reasonab

        • The NFL is hell-bent on their business model of regional lock-in to try to fill the stands. They have this crazy rationale of "if they can't see it at their local pub, they'll cough up the $$ for the tickets instead". They could fill 10,000 seats for $25 a ticket or sell 50,000 streams for $5, either way they are $250k richer. They'd lose concessions and memorabilia, but the latter could be bought online. They may even sell more since the fans saved some money by streaming.

          You can't tell me that the NFL onl

          • by schnell ( 163007 )

            They could fill 10,000 seats for $25 a ticket or sell 50,000 streams for $5, either way they are $250k richer.

            You are missing an important economic element here, unfortunately, because the NFL is not a single entity and the "they" in your statement above is different in the two cases you suggest. The money that the NFL makes from TV or streaming rights is split equally among all teams. (Hello, Buffalo Bills business model!) The money made from ticket sales is kept by the home team (split with the visiting team) and not distributed among the league's teams equally.

            So if you have a popular/successful team that spends

      • I think you can get every game audio on SiriusXM? http://www.siriusxm.com/nflsch... [siriusxm.com]
    • Could it be, a general decline in the interest of watching sports in general?
      Being that we now live in a world of multiple forms of entertainment, and a huge archive of recorded shows on our beck and call via streaming. Perhaps sports just isn't as interesting.
      Back in the days where it was common to not have cable, Sports took up 1/5 or greater of the watchable TV when it was on.
      But watching sports now one of thousand options you can pick to do.

    • Absolutely correct.

      I am a Patriots fan living in DC. Every Sunday, I find the best feed on Reddit to watch the game.

      By contrast, I watch Red Sox games on MLB.tv. Cost about $100 for the full season in HD and no commercials. Gladly paid it and watched maybe 75% of games last season.

      In the NFL, all but 8 markets have sub-par teams. No one really wants to watch their team lose every Sunday, they want to see the games people will be talking about next week. Or at least be able to check in on them. Market exclus

      • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

        By contrast, I watch Red Sox games on MLB.tv. Cost about $100 for the full season in HD and no commercials. Gladly paid it and watched maybe 75% of games last season.

        Which only works because you don't live where your team plays. I looked into the baseball package when I cut cable, and the answer was I could watch any game I wanted live, but not the local team, which was the only team I actually wanted to watch. I found that frustrating and just gave up on the sport rather than spend money on subpar options.

        • Yes, definitely, local team restrictions are a bit of a pain. It impacts people following non-local teams too, you can't see your team when they play each other.

          Of course, there are ways around that. You could watch it on a TV, but I just connect to a VPN. Does not impact the quality.

  • Free TV (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Matheus ( 586080 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:26PM (#55689331) Homepage

    If I can watch it via an antennae (w/ Ads of course.. $$ has to come from somewhere) for free then I should be able to stream it on the internet for the same low price. (Consideration given of course for whatever whomever charges to recoup the cost of said streaming) The model of: "Select your cable subscription to stream for free" is BS. I shouldn't need a cable provider at home to have device freedom for my football.

    Fix that problem and I'll stop searching for pirate streams on YouTube (and people will be less inclined to want to put them up there)

    • If I can watch it via an antennae (w/ Ads of course.. $$ has to come from somewhere) for free then I should be able to stream it on the internet for the same low price. (Consideration given of course for whatever whomever charges to recoup the cost of said streaming) The model of: "Select your cable subscription to stream for free" is BS. I shouldn't need a cable provider at home to have device freedom for my football.

      Fix that problem and I'll stop searching for pirate streams on YouTube (and people will be less inclined to want to put them up there)

      Yeah OTA I typically get a 1080 image, great sound - it seems to me that the main fan complaint may be from blackout areas, or unavailable (cable). I agree, fix the availability problem & pricing, and piracy becomes irrelevant: Why worry about something that doesn't affect your bottom line?

    • our Supreme Court already rules on this. There was a company streaming live OTA tv, one antennae per user. Even offered to limit the service to local residence. They got shut down when they lost their case. If you'd like that right you're gonna need a new law.

      Now, as for the odds of getting said law, good luck. I've said this several times: a lot of people in America are hurting. They're worried about food and shelter. They're scared. They're also easily manipulated as folks full of fear tend to be. If
      • Supreme Court makes obviously awful ruling to protect the interests of the powerful, news at 11.
  • by indros13 ( 531405 ) * on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:26PM (#55689333) Homepage Journal
    Of the rapacious cable network no longer allowing me to watch a game broadcast free over the air without a subscription. First I had to watch in SD only, then I had to pay for the HD box, and always with a monthly subscription cost that kept rising. And then to get the stream, I have to login with my cable account (that I don't want, because it's expensive).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:28PM (#55689351)

    So fuck you NFL. A bunch of millionaires and billionaires taking my tax money for their party, and then charging me an arm and leg to watch them celebrate.

  • I say this in response to the article with all due respect to the athletes ..... SO THE FUCK WHAT .... wanton commercialism has made this "sport" boring as fuck. Pirate it. Athletes should be glad someone is watching them. Why should they care if a group of old white neo-fascists is profiting from their toils? Ticket sales / stadium beer prices alone, in large part, are enough to pay player salaries. Cable companies and the NFL can go fuck themselves.
  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AlanBDee ( 2261976 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:36PM (#55689425)

    "This online activity comes as the league struggles with declining ratings that have been blamed variously on player protests during the national anthem and revelations about former players suffering from a brain disease caused by concussions. Yet this illegal distribution of NFL content may also be crimping the league's viewer numbers."

    This just shows how out of touch they are. With nothing but common sense to support my claim I suspect their declining viewer numbers have way more to do with people cutting the cord, doing other activities, losing interest, or maybe, just maybe they are so tired of the stupid commercials that occupy more time then the actual game and they've decided they have better things to do. Lets see what happens when ESPN releases their streaming service next year. It will provide a very real estimate on how much people are willing to pay to watch sports and provide almost exact viewing numbers.

    I love football. I applaud the players for standing up for what they believe. The refs have been cracking down hard on helmet on helmet contact and I expect we'll see better protective gear and/or a change in rules of the game to reduce injures. No-one wants to see the players get hurt but I don't think people are "not watching" in protest because of that.

    • Not really. ESPN doesnâ(TM)t have that many live sporting events. You canâ(TM)t purchase a package in the United States for streaming all NFL games. In 2017. Nuff said.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 )
      I am not watching in part because of the permanent brain damage to the players. I don't to be associated with paying guys to screw up their brains for my entertainment. And the rest is because of the ads.
    • With nothing but common sense to support my claim I suspect their declining viewer numbers have way more to do with people cutting the cord, doing other activities, losing interest, or maybe, just maybe they are so tired of the stupid commercials that occupy more time then the actual game and they've decided they have better things to do.

      Nice. It used to be that people would say cord-cutting didn't work with sports entertainment. But now, maybe it's that sports entertainment doesn't work with cord-cutting.

    • One thing that hasn't been mentioned is competition from soccer. That might be a part of the problem as well.
    • Here are some stats [blogspot.com]. That decline is too sharp to be caused by people cutting the chord out of a general desire rather than a specific desire to stop supporting the NFL.

      A large part of the problem is that the NFL has punished players for doing something as simple as wearing non-regulation additions to their uniforms to honor the lives of the police that were gunned down defending the BLM protesters in Texas. Chew on that one for a minute; if this is about freedom of speech, why would the NFL fine the heck o

  • I own season tickets to (team) so I get NFL Game Pass, which offers a commercial-free 25-30 "condensed" version of all games. I actually watch 1-2 of these a week and they seem like the only thing I'd pirate if I couldn't get it "for free." Anyone know if anyone is really pirating full recorded games?
  • Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by slshdtisctrldbysjws ( 5180469 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @01:46PM (#55689551)

    People are tired of blatant politicizing of everything and everything. They are tired of the hoops they have to jump through for low quality programming.

    In general they are just tired of being so exploited.

  • The fact that anyone watches a game drag on for four hours or longer is amazing. The NFL should be looking into this as one more way to get this out there if it actually is drawing more people, which I highly doubt. My guess is that people watching on Youtube either enjoy watching it on their computer, or they don't have any other way of viewing it due to their location on the planet.

    I don't buy the excuse that people aren't showing up or watching, due to protests at the very beginning of the game anyhow

  • "featured ads from well-known national brands interspersed with game action"

    So what is the problem? The deal is, they provide the football and in exchange we watch the ads. If we watch the ads on youtube, what's the problem exactly?

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Because everyone in the traditional distribution chain loses their piece of the action. Back in the old days, a couple of big guys in cheap suits with iron pipes would stop by to explain to you from whom you would be buying your services and what you would pay.

      These guys know where the advertisers and team owners live. So no matter what the economics of alternate distribution might be, nobody wants a visit where the consequences of backing out of da' deal will be 'splained to them.

    • Because they can't officially establish audience numbers and this charge higher rates for the ads.
      • It ought to be easier to establish streaming audience numbers, particularly if they had an easily accessed free official website. OTA, by comparison, is almost impossible to track. This would appear to be a case of team owners not understanding their own best interest.
  • You could either get a cable subscription, then a sports package on top of this, then hope and pray that they sell enough tickets of your favorite team so they will actually broadcast the game, then put up with 1 minute ads interrupting every 30-45 seconds of the game...

    Or you could find out that many nations all over the globe also have networks that buy the NFL rights, usually HEAPS cheaper than in the US because football just isn't so popular in those countries, offer the game on a live stream, and you g

  • Maybe, just maybe, the problem ISN'T the fact that there are so many "pirate" videos, but maybe a LOGISTICS problem.

    People pirate due to THREE _main_ reasons:

    * Accessibility -- if you can't even "buy" the product going without is not an option for some people
    * Convenience -- no bullshit ads
    * Price -- Free means money can be spent on other things -- such as internet access.

    Treating the symptom, piracy, is never going to solve the initial problem of shitty supply and demand logistics.

  • They found out why I didn't renew my NFL Game Pass.... oh well, it was fun while it lasted :(
  • watch their games live. The excitement's gone if you know the outcome. Now if these are live streams they've got a point. Getting to see football on TV can be crazy expensive. Packages start at $120/mo in my area and go up from there.
  • H... O... O, NFL.

    There is a reason the NFL is an 11-figure overly saturated empire. Don't give me potential low ratings rant; that's just propaganda for the gazillion of networks you already partner with to fake-whine about how you aren't getting viewership. How the F do any of us know just how that is reallycalculated anyway? Not to mention, just like there is so much to 'feed our eyes' with lately, has the NFL not done that, as well? It's not just Sunday and Monday. It's Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Sat

  • It's the freaking saturation of football on TV:

    • Saturday is college football. All. Day. Long.
    • Sunday is 3-4 hours of pre-game shows followed by football games from noon until bedtime.
    • Monday night is football night.
    • Thursday night is football night.

    And that's for us folks who don't have cable TV subscriptions and access to N channels of ESPN football shows.

    I'm guessing that their problem is that the public is getting pretty darned sick and tired of football on TV.

  • Last year I signed up with sling (internet tv company) and payed the extra money to get the nfl network thinking I could watching all the games scheduled on that channel. When game day rolled around, tried to watch the game and was met with a black screen saying "This game is blacked out on nfl network from sling tv". What the hell am I paying for I thought? I cancelled my account because it was suddenly less useful. This year I signed up for Direct TV Now and then found out that NBC is blocked in my city w

  • by erp_consultant ( 2614861 ) on Wednesday December 06, 2017 @04:09PM (#55690635)

    Maybe it's because:

    1) Nobody knows what a catch is anymore. It seems like every single catch or non-catch is analyzed to death. Catching the football is a fundamental part of the game. Someone needs to figure out what constitutes a catch and be done with it.

    2) Nobody seems to know what a fair tackle is. In the Steelers-Bengals game on Monday George Iloka gets a one game suspension for flattening Antonio Brown in the end zone. It was a hard hit but he was trying to prevent a touchdown. Rob Gronkowski goes all WWE on a guy with a flying elbow drop to the back of the head when the play was already over and the player was on the ground. Both of them get a one game suspension. In one case it's a football play, in the other case it's a bonehead intent to injure play. It seems to me that Gronk should have got a 2 game suspension and Iloka maybe a fine, it anything. Again, tackling is a fundamental part of the game. Somebody needs to figure out what is fair and what is not.

    3) Will someone just go ahead and sign Colin Kapernick? You might not agree with his politics or the whole kneeling thing but he's probably as good as at least half the starting quarterbacks playing right now. The longer this blackballing of Kapernick drags out the worse it looks for the NFL. Sign him. If he can't play then cut him but enough of the blackballing.

    • George Iloka gets a one game suspension for flattening Antonio Brown in the end zone. It was a hard hit but he was trying to prevent a touchdown.

      If Brown was holding the ball in the endzone, it was already a touchdown. I'm watching the replays right now, and it was already a touchdown. Flattening him at that point was simply unsportsmanlike conduct. It's like flattening someone who is already out of bounds, or tackling the kicker after the ball is in the air.

      Somebody needs to figure out what is fair and what is not.

      They did, and Iloka paid the price for his act.

    • 3) Will someone just go ahead and sign Colin Kapernick? You might not agree with his politics or the whole kneeling thing but he's probably as good as at least half the starting quarterbacks playing right now. The longer this blackballing of Kapernick drags out the worse it looks for the NFL. Sign him. If he can't play then cut him but enough of the blackballing.

      Well, one train of thought goes that Kapernick isn't that good of a QB, knew it, was at risk of getting cut, so he started this whole political charade as a self-promotion gambit. Rumor has it he was also on the verge of getting picked up when his girlfriend shot off her mouth with some race-baiting bullshit and his pending offer was shelved. Overall, it looks like teams have decided Kapernick just isn't a good enough player to justify all the drama he comes with. You could call that 'blackballing', I su

    • 3) Will someone just go ahead and sign Colin Kapernick?

      Hot news on the radio news this morning: Kaepernick has an offer -- from that powerhouse of sports called "arena football". I can attest to the fact that he's probably as good as half the arena football qbs.

      Also rumored that another on-the-outs football player has the same kind of offer, but his name meant nothing to me so I've already forgotten it.

      Will Colin think the bully pulpit of arena football will be sufficient?

      • No kidding? Well I guess we're about to see if he can play. Maybe he will surprise everyone and go all Kurt Warner on us and end up back in the NFL via the arena league. That's about as likely as ME getting an NFL contract but you never know.

        He's probably so rusty now that his first throw goes into row 10 in the stands but hey, at least he gets to play. Considering that arena gets about zero TV coverage I doubt that soapbox will suffice. But the networks that support his cause will probably show a few clips

  • Suck, I don't live in the home market for my team. And if the home market gets to watch their team at home. The punishment is that if the first and second games are on the same network. Game 2 is blacked out!!!!

    What the FRAK!!!

    I used to care, even had NFL ticket on direct TV for a few years. But they blacked out games also.

    Frak!! the bunch of American hating million and billionaires. They dislike their customers, I have moved on.
  • are all subjects I have zero interest in watching?
  • A non issue since fewer and fewer could give a shit about anything NFL.

    Between stupid business models designed to maximize profits at the expense of the fans and the whole turning it into a political statement for some, the NFL could die tomorrow and I doubt anyone would even shed a tear.

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