Sports turns streaming into the new stadium

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The Future. The glue holding cable subscriptions is falling apart — streamers are sweeping up sports rights across the board. The paradigm shift is driven by the leagues looking to find young audiences where they are. But with sports being more expensive than ever to license, expect to start paying a premium on every platform to have full access to games.

Team players
Profit-seeking streamers have found that recruiting sports rights is one of the quickest growth plays.

  • Disney is in the midst of remaking ESPN as a sports-streaming powerhouse.
  • Amazon’s Thursday Night Football accounts for 25% of all internet traffic on Thursday nights.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery launched a sports tier on Max that’ll show games from the MLB, NBA, and NHL.
  • NBCUniversal hosted 51 live sporting events — including the NFL, Premier League, and Big Ten — on Peacock in September.
  • Paramount Global says its NFL games are one of the key drivers of subscriber growth at Paramount+.
  • Apple’s exclusive hosting of MLS has been a huge success (especially for Lionel Messi).

And with YouTube’s purchase of NFL Sunday Ticket already posting record sign-ups for the paid tier, there doesn’t seem to be a platform where sports don’t do well.

Despite some experiments, the only real holdout is Netflix… but they may be content just taking nearly everyone’s scripted content to bolster their library.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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