Making Science

Premier League launches Boot Out Piracy campaign in Hong Kong for a second year

David Murphy

The UK’s Premier League has launched the second season of its ‘Boot Out Piracy’ campaign in Hong Kong to raise awareness of the dangers of viewing pirate content, as well as the compromised viewing experience offered by illegal streams.

The campaign highlights the risks that fans face by watching Premier League matches via unauthorised websites or streaming devices, including potential exposure to malicious malware or ransomware, which increases their risk of data theft and fraud. Their viewing experience is also likely to be disrupted by broken links, pop-up ads and delays.

The campaign will run across digital platforms, with content featuring some of the Premier League’s top footballers, including Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-Min. This is the second time the campaign will run in Hong Kong, having first launched at the start of the 2020/2021 season. Outside of Hong Kong, ‘Boot Out Piracy’ will also run in Malaysia, Indonesia and, for the first time, Singapore.

“We are launching the ‘Boot Out Piracy’ campaign in Hong Kong for the second year in a row to continue building awareness of the risks involved in watching Premier League matches via illegal streams,” said Premier League General Counsel Kevin Plumb. “We know these sites often contain malicious content and it is important passionate Hong Kong football fans realise that watching Premier League matches through these operators brings security risks and an unreliable viewing experience. 

“We are working together with our broadcast partners and local authorities in Hong Kong and throughout Asia to protect fans from accessing pirate sites so they can watch our matches in the best and safest way. Educating fans on the dangers of viewing pirated content is a core part of our anti-piracy programme as well as the significant legal actions we undertake such as blocking sites and the prosecution of sellers of illegal streaming devices.”

External research has shown a clear link between watching pirated content – including pirated Premier League content – and cybersecurity issues. According to research findings from intellectual property and data analytics company, White Bullet Solutions, 60 per cent of the most popular pirate websites in Hong Kong for illegally watching Premier League content carried ads considered risky, containing either fraud, malware, adult or gambling content.

“It is important for people to understand that visiting pirate websites or using pirate apps will greatly increase the risk of falling victim to cybercrime,” said White Bullet Solutions Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Peter Szyszko. “The type of malware and ransomware we find on pirate websites and apps can be very serious – visiting them can put at risk all sorts of personal or financial information. Our clear message to consumers would be to think twice before taking a big risk and searching for an illegal stream.”

The ‘Boot Out Piracy’ campaign was developed with creative agency DDB Worldwide. In Hong Kong, the campaign is a collaboration between the Premier League and local broadcast partner, Now TV, the Pay TV Platform under PCCW Media Limited.