Entertainment Alliance Shuts Down Illegal Soccer Streaming Ring

FIFA World Cup
(Image credit: FIFA)

Goooooooooooooooootcha! The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) says it has closed down one of the biggest illegal live soccer streaming rings. That comes only a couple of weeks before the FIFA World Cup — soccer’s version of that other football's playoffs and Super Bowl — which begins November 20 in Qatar.

ACE says the shutdown affected futbollibre.net and televisionlibre.net as well as more than three dozen additional associated domains.

It says that the shuttered domains collectively had received a staggering 300-plus million visits in the past six months alone, with most of that traffic coming from Argentina. Those domains are now under ACE's control and visitors are being redirected to its site, Watch Legally (opens in new tab), which as its name suggests, informs them where content can be legally accessed.

According to ACE, Futbolibre (literally “free soccer”) has had a reputation for illegally streaming live matches from leagues including UEFA Champions League, La Liga, and the Argentine Professional Soccer League.

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“The successful takedown of this major sports piracy ring marks significant progress as ACE expands its live-tier operations and efforts to combat illegal sports piracy,” said ACE head Jan van Voorn, executive VP and chief of global content protection for the Motion Picture Association.

ACE board members comprise Amazon, Apple TV Plus, NBCUniversal, Netflix Studios LLC, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Paramount, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and Warner Bros. ■

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.