After months of hype, YouTube superstars Logan Paul and KSI finally exchanged blows today in front of millions of people. The official way to watch this fight was supposed to be a pay-per-view stream on YouTube that costs $10, but it seems most fans found alternate ways of watching the event.
Pirated broadcasts of the boxing match seemed to be everywhere on social media: on Twitter, one top stream had 70,000 people tuning in on Periscope, and there were other ones floating around, too. Live-streaming platform Twitch seemed to be the destination of choice for most people looking for unofficial broadcasts, however, given that the top content at this very moment is the fight. At its height, over a million people were using Twitch to watch a fight on YouTube.
The largest stream on Twitch had over 400,000 people in it, but dozens of other unofficial broadcasts brought the overall tally up much higher.
By contrast, the official stream had around 773,000 viewers cumulatively — meaning that what has repeatedly been touted as the “biggest event” on YouTube didn’t end up drawing as many eyeballs as other sites did. A Twitch representative told The Verge that it is against the rules for streamers to upload content that does not belong to them, and that anyone who does so is potentially liable to DMCA takedowns. “We have been responsive to related reports,” Twitch added.
The lead-up to the fight has been a long and slightly embarrassing one, but it has nonetheless commanded the attention of YouTube at-large, thanks to the narrative surrounding the Paul brothers. Earlier this year, Logan Paul stirred widespread controversy after filming a dead body in Japan, while his brother Jake Paul, who fought in the undercard, became infamous for being obnoxious. The narrative of the fight, according to the Paul brothers at least, was that it presented an opportunity for the duo to redeem themselves in front of their fans. While that specific outcome is still up for debate, Jake Paul won the first fight against KSI’s brother, ComedyShortsGamer, and the main fight ended up in a tie. KSI and Logan Paul are in talks to do a rematch somewhere down the line, and Jake Paul celebrated his victory by challenging Chris Brown to a fight.
Update August 25th 6:20PM ET: Added comment by Twitch.