The way sports fans take in their favorite events is changing, with many more cable customers cutting the cord and switching to live streaming when it comes to watching their favorite teams compete. Many people consume sports coverage, usually with a setup that includes an HD television, a tablet, a mobile phone, a laptop, or PC.
In addition, fans also may have a fantasy sports app and a social media account to help keep up with all the latest news. If in the right location, they could also have a betting app to keep track of the point spread for the next matchup involving their favorite team.
Watching live sports is probably the biggest reason consumers use streaming video services. College sports fans are getting the most benefit currently, with many college sports packages online that can be viewed on tablets and mobile devices.
Some fans who have gotten rid of their cable providers only watch sports that they stream online. These can come through subscription services or one of the many free sports streams they can find online, legal or otherwise.
Challenges For The Industry
U.S. sports fans demand access 24/7 to online, high-quality streaming without concerns about licensing and content. With so many consumers ditching their cable subscriptions and investing in streaming applications and gadgets, network providers need to figure out how to reach out to these customers. In addition, they need to have solutions that offer consumers the same quality access to these sporting events at a low cost to draw these customers back to their services.
One of the most significant issues for networks is figuring out how to present their offerings to a younger audience. Many prefer to get their sports news and highlights from social media platforms. But, like older adults used to watch events scheduled on the air in television broadcasts and on cable, it’s much more challenging for broadcasters to figure out how to provide content that today’s younger adults want to watch.
The biggest benefit to fans that stream live sports is access to many more events. Sports fans realize that not every game is available in all regions. With the right streaming service, various games are available that aren’t in your area through a cable provider. Even services available online have high-quality streams that offer every game in all major sports.
Some Events Available Only Through Live Streams
Starting in the 2022 season, many games from the NFL and MLB will only be available through live streaming. For example, Thursday Night Football just signed an 11-year contract to only stream the events on Amazon Prime.
It was previously broadcast on several different networks simultaneously but is now exclusive only to Amazon. Even with Thursday night games being less popular than Sunday afternoon contests or Monday Night Football, they still bring a large audience.
This season, Apple TV will stream two baseball games weekly every Friday after signing a deal with MLB, making the games exclusive to its platform. MLB will do all the work producing the broadcasts, and all Apple needs to do is make sure the performance and quality are up to standards. This marks a transition that continues to be seen in sports coverage.
These services see the importance of live sports streams and are taking full advantage by using the billions in cash they have sitting around. They are also in a great position to bid on even more sports content, which will help them gain more monthly subscribers.
Now that live streaming is more readily available for sporting events and is much cheaper than the alternative, only 56% of U.S. consumers reported watching network programming using cable or satellite last year.
According to a recent Pew Research study, this is a 20% decrease since 2015. Some experts believe the trend could lead fans to lose access to sports unless they have a streaming platform available to watch their favorite games.