While the World Cup of Football took place from November 20 to December 18, 2022; despite the controversies over the choice of Qatar, soccer remains one of the most popular sports on the planet and still attracts an extremely large audience.

Since 2010, the number of viewers has been steadily increasing; while global figures for 2022 have not yet been released, in 2018, match broadcasts would have attracted a total of more than 3.5 billion viewers, including 1.2 billion for the final.

In 2022, if it is too early to have reliable figures some countries have started to publish some results – especially regarding the historic France-Argentina final.

  • The BBC confirms that 14.9 million people watched the game in the UK, 7.1 million of which were watching it on  streaming services.
  • In the U.S., an estimated 25 million viewers watched the game
  • Telemundo reports 9 million viewers for the final in Spain
  • Streaming viewership for the entire competition is also reported to have increased by about 158% compared to the 2018 World Cup final figures according to Fox


With soccer being one of the sports most impacted by piracy, a number of initiatives took place during the World Cup as well as afterwards to try and limit the extent of it. 

Proactive operations

At the beginning of November, Members of the European Parliament, with the support of the major broadcasters, reiterated to Ursula von der Leyen their request for European legislative harmonization to fight against the piracy of sports events; they are asking in particular for a 30-minute withdrawal order, modelled on what exists in the United Kingdom. Although symbolic, this action shows a growing awareness of piracy at the political level. 

In other parts of the world, actions have been more aggressive: 

  • The Canadian court issued a blocking order against two major streaming sites at the request of Bell Media, and other rightholders
  • 3 days before the start of the Cup, Bein sport obtained two orders from the  Paris Court for the preventive blocking of 22 streaming sites and 7 addresses leading to IPTV services.
  • A major illegal network was dismantled in Morocco a few days before the start of the World Cup. This network was hacking Bein Sport’s network; the concerned sites had received more than 20 million visits in October 2022.

Illegal domains seized

About fifty domains with several tens of millions of viewers were closed in December by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security; a few days later the sites were again hosted on new domains, but this time the justice system was able to react quickly and have the copies removed almost immediately.

Massive phishing

Finally, another aspect of this type of sporting event that is sometimes overlooked is the proliferation of various phishing operations from sources posing as FIFA, using classic techniques such as a supposed payment problem or tickets won for the event. The goal, as always, is to get personal data or money. 

Thus, the number of fraudulent e-mails doubled in October 2022, in anticipation of the Cup. In France, the CNIL, in particular, has reminded French viewers to be more vigilant.

Like many events, the success of the World Cup was accompanied by even greater piracy. Despite the quick reaction of some states, live events still lose considerable revenue if withdrawals are not made in real time. It is therefore essential to accompany these legal actions with a proactive surveillance allowing a quick withdrawal. 

Agence PDN offers live event monitoring, before and during your event, ensuring real-time removal of illegal streams; for live events, time is of the essence. Do not hesitate to contact one of our account managers, we will be happy to help you with an offer adapted to your needs. 

We will be back in February for our new theme: the role of social networks in piracy. Thank you for reading !