It's been a bad week for Duco, and the news has just got significantly worse for them and anyone else involved in sports promotions.

The Auckland-based events promoter made a lot of noise when it chased down illegal streamers of boxing. But a survey in England has revealed that watching underground broadcasts of sport is becoming the norm for young people.

Duco lost out this week when Brit Hughie Fury pulled out of his WBO heavyweight challenge against Joseph Parker, but there may be far more inherent and significant financial losses for promoters down the road.

The Guardian reported: "The scale of the challenge facing sports broadcasters in combating piracy has been made clear in figures that show more than half of young people watch illegal streams of live events."

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Duco's Dean Lonergan called illegal streamers of a Parker fight last year "complete lowlife s***heads" as he instigated a hardline crackdown against them. Developments this year include Foxtel's threat to sue Facebook streamers of the Anthony Mundine/Danny Green contest. One streamer pulled in more than 130,000 viewers.

The latest research shows that 'millennials', people aged 18 to 24, view piracy as standard operating procedure. The research, using 1500 people of which 1000 were the so-called millennials, was credited to a Sport Industry Group survey.

The key result: 54 per cent of the younger audience have watched illegal sports streaming with a third doing it regularly. This is in sharp conflict with people aged over 35, where illegal streaming hardly figures according to the research carried out by SMG Insight.

The SIG chairman Nick Keller told the newspaper: ""Unless we are careful we will have a generation of young people who consider pirated sports content to be the norm. That's a significant challenge not just for rights holders but the whole sector - from sponsors and athletes to ticketholders.

"It's in everyone's interests, not least the fans who enjoy a quality product, to make sure that the value of sport is maintained by delivering a quality product through the best means to appeal to the audience."

Other trends among the younger audience include a drop off in watching traditional mainstream sports such as league, horse racing and athletics while boxing, ice hockey and mixed martial arts are on the rise.

Football watching still figures highly, but with a slight drop off. And only two per cent of the 18-24 age group reported finding sports entertainment via social media clips.