US streaming platforms ready to play sports | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our privacy policy unless you have disabled them. You can change your cookie settings at any time but parts of our site will not function correctly without them. [Close]
While to date the involvement of tech giants in the sports broadcasting market has never been much a reality, Apple's recent deal with Major League Baseball has fired the starting pistol for the streamers to hit a key market says a study from Dataxis.
Dataxis US stremaing 22March2022
According to a research posting by Dataxis senior analyst Guillaume Perrin, Apple’s deal to broadcast two Friday games in several markets (including the US, Canada, Brazil, Japan and the UK - as the latest example of an accelerated rush into the sports market for significant US streaming services.

Others it highlighted were the MLB’s recent other streaming deal with Comcast's Peacock, that just finished its coverage of the Winter Olympics, and will be one of the destinations for English Premier League football fans, as NBC secured rights to games until 2028, through a deal worth more than two billion dollars. A month ago, HBO Max also made its first significant move into sports live content with an agreement to show women's and men's national soccer games.

Paramount Plus will also showcase CBS' premium sports rights such as Champions League football and the analysis speculates that Netflix might have some ambition to go beyond sports documentaries or series, and is open to making its entry into premium sports, as declared by its CEO Reed Hastings.

Dataxis added such generalist platforms complement already existing sports-specialised platforms such as ESPN+ and will be used to attract and retain core fans, who could possibly renounce traditional cable sports channels.

Dataxis calculated that ESPN has been losing ground in 2021, decreasing by around 10% from 84 million subscribers in 2020 to 76 million at the end of 2021, while its streaming platform ESPN+ has experienced a massive growth over the last twelve months, easily surpassing the 20-million subscriber milestone by reaching 21.3 million. Perrin stressed that the increase is however to be put into perspective, since ESPN+ (as well as Disney+) has been automatically integrated into Hulu's Live TV customers since December 2021.

“Sports networks still resist the pressure from streaming services when it comes to revenues: indeed, affiliate fees for ESPN and ESPN2 still amount to around $10, while ESPN+'s ARPU is lower than $6,” he noted. “Those opposite trends put Disney in face of a dilemma about the right moment to push even further its streaming-centred strategy and renounce its still gainful cable business.”

Going forward, the analyst forecast that the entry of new players in the sports broadcasting market might strengthen even further the trend of inflating costs for sports rights, that has been witnessed over the last media rights tenders, with the NFL nearly doubling the value of its TV rights for the next cycle for instance.