Like in Entertainment, piracy in football is a problem that hurts the Industry as much as it does its fans. As football becomes less and less profitable, fans risk seeing their favorite teams and sports events disappear.
According to a study published by the Piracy Observatory in Spain, most of the people who download soccer games believe that their actions have little to no consequence because ball players already make so much money. But this answer only shows that fans lose perspective of all the people who are involved in the Industry. While it is true that a ball player can make millions, stadium groundskeepers and other staff members can make any amount from 9.000 to 28.000 euros a year. This is a range of around 750 to 2.300 a month: the average salary for most Spaniards that work full-time.
But football revenue are also important to sports journalists. A journalist can make as much as 1.000 euros a month. And, except for rare cases, no sports journalist, photographer or camera man makes more than the average citizen. This is why when people pirate a game, those they hurts the most are people like them. Normal people that, like the one downloading, struggle to make ends meet.
Due to this issue, Miguel Cardenal, the Spanish Secretary of State for Sports (2012-2016), proposed a reform to the Penal Code so that the sentences for piracy in football (and in general) where much harsher. The initiative had the support for the major team presidents and directors (Real Madrid and Atlético de Madrid) as well as other well-known football names.
Enrique Cerezo, Atlético de Madrid president, made his opinion known that the authorities “do nothing” when someone is caught pirating a game or uploading a game to be pirated. He classified Spain as the World Piracy Champions and insisted that it was important that laws work faster because technology evolves and changes at a much faster pace than the system adapts.
The Director of Real Madrid, José Ángel Sánchez, stated that prices should also be adjusted. He argued that as long as it was expensive to watch ‘El Clásico’ (Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona), piracy in football was going to exist. To put it into context, El Clásico can cost as little as 660 euros or as much as 3.000 euros. To watch the Derbi (Atlético de Madrid vs Real Madrid, the capitals most prestigious teams) a person must pay around 500 euros or more. In comparison, the average cost of Germany’s most expensive tickets can set a person back around 55 euros, in Spain the average is more around 150.
Just in 2015, piracy in football was valued in over 410 million euros after quantifying the 141 million games that were watched through illegal services. Additionally, the Piracy Observatory in Spain estimated that around 18 million Spanish homes viewed football through illegal channels that same year.
This monetary loss and the ongoing threat the all entertain and football face are addressed by Carlota Navarrete, from the Creators and Content Industry Coalition, as she emphasizes the importance of finding ways to stop and limit piracy. She demands, as well, that citizens respect companies that bring richness and employment to Spain. According to the Escuela Universitaria de Artes y Espectáculo, if there were no piracy in football, the industry could create 29,360 new direct jobs. Currently, it creates 62,468. This 47% increase would mean over 1.181 million euro to the Spanish economy.
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