What If… Sports Video Consumption Is Changing?

The sky is not yet completely falling in Bristol, CT. While few cable nets have been as consistently profitable as ESPN, dark clouds may be looming on the horizon. Ratings for SportsCenter are down 10%. NFL Countdown is down 13%. To some degree, this is occurring because of an increase in cord cutters and cord shavers. However, there are also far more choices available to viewers across multiple platforms.

Sports on-demand is booming. ESPN’s streaming app is available across the mobile spectrum (IOS and Android), Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Chromecast, Kindle and Xbox plus Sony & Sharp TVs, the Nexus player Nvidia Shield and Razer Forge TV (the latter two Android TV platforms).

However, one look at the Roku sports offerings tells the real story. Of course you will find WatchESPN, MLB.TV, WWE Network, NBC Sports Live Extra, NBA Channel, NFL on-demand, Tennis Channel Everywhere, CBS Sports Network and the NHL Network. And they also offer FuboTV, UFC TV, Red Bull TV, GoPro Network, MLS Live, the Hunt, Pursuit, Carbon TV & Bowhunting Channels, Sports Illustrated On-Demand, Lucas Oil Racing, The Billiard Channel, Ring TV, Callaway Golf TV, NHRA All-Access, the ACC Digital Network, BMX TV and even BuckingBull TV and Chukker TV (water polo) among scores of others. There is even a smattering of team specific channels such as Dodgers Nation, Seattle Sounders FC & Lakers Nation.

On the mobile app front, most every media company has multiple offerings albeit limited by the streaming rights they have secured. There are also numerous apps for scores and up-to-the-minute data. And this does not even include 3rd party apps that aggregate sports coverage like Yankees Live! that links to numerous sources including NY area newspapers and selected blogs.

For balance it should be noted that broadcast/cable is not dead: 9 of the top 10 all-time most popular TV shows in history are the most recent Super Bowls (can you name the one non-sports show to crack the list?) AND in 2015, 43 of the top 50 broadcasts were NFL games. Others included the Ohio State vs Oregon college football megacast (ESPN), the Duke vs Wisconsin NCAA tournament game and the USA vs Japan World Cup final.

Finally, NBC will make the upcoming Rio Olympic Games content available to carriers in both 4K and HDR. However, once again many of the most popular events, including the opening and closing ceremonies, swimming, track & field and basketball will only be offered on a 24-hour delay. Why? We have no idea.

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