The return of "Game of Thrones" was arguably the most anticipated TV event since . . . I don't know, the Clay vs.Ruben finale of"American Idol"? But apparently, not everyone who wanted to see it has an HBO subscription.
Because the first episode of Season Eight was PIRATED . . . a LOT.
An online piracy data firm called Muso says that Sunday's season premiere was downloaded or watched illegally more than 54 MILLION times in the 24 hours after it aired.
For context, Nielsen's tracking says the total number of LEGAL viewers on Sunday night was around 17.4 million.
That includes the viewers who watched it LIVE, or one of the two reruns that followed . . . as well as those who streamed it over HBO's on demand services. However, Nielsen's data doesn't account for repeat viewings.
But Americans weren't the biggest offenders. India had the most"Game of Thrones" piracy, accounting for almost 9.5 million of the 54 million. China is #2, with roughly 5.2 million. The U.S.A. is in third, with almost 4 million illegal looks at the premiere.