Let’s face it, sports enthusiasts are spoiled in the digital era. We can watch big games from the comfort of our television screens thanks to cable broadcasts. We can also stream them online on sports channel websites. Many streaming platforms have also begun offering live broadcasts of big games. However, all this is set to change in the coming years. Let’s examine how live sports broadcasts are set to shift shortly and what this means for sports enthusiasts.
Sports Broadcasts Are Shifting to Streaming Platforms
The days when you could flip to a sports channel on your television to catch a game are coming to an end. This is because many sports leagues are signing contracts with large streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ for exclusive streaming and broadcasting rights. This means people with subscriptions to these platforms will be able to watch big games from their favourite streaming-friendly device. However, it also means you won’t be able to watch sports matches through your current cable TV subscription anymore.
Why Sports Broadcasts Are Shifting to Streaming Platforms
So why are sports broadcasts shifting to streaming platforms? After all, sports have been broadcast on cable television for many decades and many people definitely don’t want this arrangement to ever change. It is easy to assume that this is simply the next stage of sports broadcasting in the digital era, and in some ways it certainly is. However, as with most commercial services, it all comes down to money. Mega corporations such as Amazon and Apple have been aggressively attempting to attract people to their streaming platforms, and they’re willing to shell out lots of money to do it. For example, Amazon recently signed a contract with the NFL to pay $1 billion per year to get exclusive streaming rights for Thursday Night Football for the next 11 years.
Similarly, Apple signed a 10-year deal with Major League Soccer (MLS) for permission to stream exclusive soccer content on their Apple+ platform. This is part of the company’s strategy of limiting the number of matches available on the base platform and providing users with access to every match only if they purchase a separate MLS subscription. Both the aforementioned companies are also vying for market domination with this move. After all, every streaming platform now wants to enjoy the massive success Netflix enjoys with its whopping 220 million user subscriptions.
What Does This Shift Mean for Customers?
Many people are likely to feel upset by this shift to streaming platforms. However, it is something that many did anticipate given recent trends in streaming. One Pew Research study discovered that the portion of Americans that watch cable television regularly dropped from 76% in 2015 to just 56% in 2022. Around 71% of the people who no longer use cable or satellite television stated they made the change because they could access their desired content online. 69% of people who no longer use cable or satellite television stated they shifted away because the cost of cable television had become too high. This is understandable given that the average monthly cable package costs a whopping $217 per month in 2022. Contrast this with Netflix, whose subscriptions top out at a modest $19.99 per month. Amazon Prime Video currently costs around $14.99 per month while Apple TV+ costs around $4.99 for its baseline version. Apple TV+’s separate MLS subscription will likely cost less than $9.99 given that ESPN+ costs $6.99 per month. When put together, subscribing to each of these streaming services still costs far less than paying for cable TV.
Will More Sports Leagues Be Broadcast Exclusively on Streaming Services?
We have yet to see how Amazon and Apple’s moves will pay off. Amazon Prime Video’s NFL broadcast exclusivity kicks in next year so sports fans can still tune to their favourite football games on cable television sports channels for the rest of the year. However, these streaming platform giants are likely eyeing other sports leagues in the hopes of scooping them up before their competitors can. For this reason, you can expect more sports league broadcasts to become exclusive to streaming platforms.
Getting the Best Sports Broadcast Experience
No one can deny that digital streaming platforms hold the most cards in the digital era. Most consumers are past the point of wondering whether they will make the shift from cable television to streaming. Instead, they are divided on which streaming platform to choose. We can’t say which live streaming platform will be best for your needs because everyone has different interests. A sports league you follow might not be available on a streaming platform that offers your favourite films and shows, so you will likely need to purchase multiple subscriptions to access all the content you are interested in. The good news is that all these subscriptions will still likely cost less than a cable television subscription.
How Hooligan Development Can Help Digital Streaming Services
Operating a digital streaming service in 2022 is challenging due to the heavy competition from larger streaming platforms. These competitors have massive budgets and possess the scale advantage to offer low prices for consumers while also keeping their operating costs down. If you are a smaller streaming service provider, you likely don’t have access to such resources. However, Hooligan Development can help you optimize your platform and succeed in the digital streaming market in many ways.
We can assist you with:
- Reducing cloud infrastructure costs
- Reducing your time-to-market
- Improve your OTT service performance
As professionals with over 9 years of experience with VOD and OTT, we understand the needs and challenges that growing digital streaming service providers face. We aim to streamline your operations to get ahead in this industry. Please contact Hooligan Development to learn more about our range of services.