Sports Streaming May Be the Future for Streaming Services

Read our take on the future of sports streaming. Major sports leagues have begun finding new homes on free, over-the-air networks not traditionally associated with live sports.

live soccer play

Nothing beats watching your favorite sport live. For decades now, we have broadcasted games across the world so fans can see the action as it happens. Then, because of the internet, it became a lot easier to view live content. Now, streaming services have realized how valuable the market for sports streaming really is.

Sports in the Streaming Market

Over the 2010s, streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have changed the way we watch movies and TV shows. While they are the most popular streamers, pretty much every industry started using streaming tech to deliver on-demand or live content. For example, iGaming sites added live streams to their hundreds of slot games. Through streaming, people could peek into Paddy Power's online roulette games and watch them play out in real-time. For sports, we had the MLB host the first-ever big league livestream back in 2002. Streaming and sports go hand in hand, and today it’s obvious that MLB was ahead of the curve.

In the broader streaming market, Netflix is still the largest service out there. Unlike the mid-2010s, they now have at least ten other streaming services vying for their own slice of the market. Each service offers unique content but, with so many crowding the space, they are constantly trying to one-up each other.

That’s where we arrive at the situation today, where streamers are bidding for the rights to broadcast sports content. As usual, Netflix was the first service to experiment with a $5 billion WWE deal and even its own golf tournament, the Netflix Cup. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video gained and then lost the rights to stream Premier League TV football, one of our main sports here at Feedinco. After that fell through, they struck a multi-year rights agreement with Premier Boxing Champions instead.

Sports Streaming Services Are Coming

The rights to broadcast sporting events are split and shared between the biggest media companies in the world. Now that streamers managed by tech giants like Amazon and Apple are showing interest, some companies have seen the opportunity to create a dedicated sports streaming service.

streaming service on tv

A sports streaming service isn’t anything new. For years now, ESPN+ has had plans to double down on sports content in 2025, after company chairman Jimmy Pitaro announced that it would become a fully-fledged direct-to-consumer service.

Then came the news of a super-platform in the making, a collaboration between some of the biggest businesses in sports media. ESPN, Warner Bros Discovery, and Fox now have plans to form a future streaming service, per the Financial Times. Through those companies, it’d have the rights to all ESPN, ABC, TNT, TruTV, and Fox content along with their related subsidiaries. The joint venture will have its own name, branding, and management that have yet to be determined.

Why Sports is the Right Move

On modern television, sports events are the most consistently watched shows according to Nielsen’s data. Even the most-watched cable shows, where larger budget dramas typically reside, are split 50/50 between fictional TV and real-life sports events. There are a lot of other factors that make sports the right move if streamers want to acquire high-ticket content that will bring new subscribers in.

As streaming services fight to offer exclusive, appealing content, sports becomes a very attractive proposition. First, distribution rights mean that the streamer doesn’t have to make the content like they do with fiction or non-fiction documentaries. They also come with a rabid fanbase who, assuming the cost is reasonable, won’t mind following the events of their favorite sports teams. Lastly, they’re repeatable with every playing season. While a fictional show like Stranger Things can run its course and end, losing a streaming service its exclusive winner, the sports keep coming so long as the distribution deal continues.

While there are plenty of sports to go around, the feeding frenzy may be threatened by the rise of mega-merger streaming services like the one on its way. If successful, the new service will likely want to acquire as many distribution rights deals as possible for sports, so customers can find all sports in the same place.

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