Streaming sports becomes increasingly difficult

December 30, 2022

Ever since streaming became popular–in sports and beyond–it was intended to make life easier and more affordable. Without a commitment to cable, people were led to believe that they could access the things they enjoyed in an easier way. To be fair, the entertainment industry has upheld that promise. The sports industry, on the other hand, has done the complete opposite.

Nowadays, being a sports fan can be extremely costly, frustrating, and difficult–even when one is not attending a sports game in person. When did wanting to watch Sunday night football with friends turn into a concern of how to gain access to a particular streaming service?

It is known that there are a variety of streaming services that are loved by people all around the world. However, many opt for, and continue to subscribe each month to services that are fairly priced and offer a wide variety of their favorite series and films. For example, all the episodes to a show will be offered on one streaming service as opposed to spread amongst many.

Sports streaming, in contrast to streaming of movies and television shows, is spread across numerous platforms. Initially, people were content to pay for useful but expensive packages to watch games that aren’t in their market. This was so that people could gain access to popular sports leagues like the National Football League and Major League Baseball.

Now, however, the streaming market is expanding significantly across all sports. In the past, sports games were easily accessible on cable for locals and for supporters who wanted to keep up with teams that were located far away. Currently, streaming services are increasing subscription costs to maintain the content one already has access to while occasionally making it even more complicated to find specific sports games.

The issue is that huge sports fans who enjoy a wide variety of sports and teams from around the world cannot access the games. For example, fans experience issues with one of the most well-known leagues, the NFL. This fall, the league put “Thursday Night Football” exclusively on Amazon Prime Video. This was the first time the NFL has pulled a game off cable and onto a different platform. Amazon Prime Video costs $8.99 per month and is not part of a user’s current Amazon Prime membership.

The NFL also recently launched its own direct consumer streaming subscription service, NFL+, which costs $4.99 per month. If that wasn’t enough, NFL + Premium costs $9.99 per month. These add-on subscriptions may drown one’s bank account, but the NFL is sitting back and gathering excessive amounts of money from fans. Football fans have to frequently check the television schedule online or ask “what channel is the game on?” because the NFL has a number of broadcast partners with differing exclusivity restrictions across all platforms.

The NFL is only one of the many leagues that makes it difficult for fans to watch games. For example, Europe’s big soccer leagues are streamed on ESPN+. This service also includes a good amount of the National Hockey League and early-tournament Professional Golfers’ Association Tour rounds. ESPN+ costs $9.99 per month. On the other hand, all Major League Soccer games are soon to be on Apple TV+ which costs $6.99 per month.

Viewing college sports has also become a problem. The Big Ten, the wealthiest conference in college athletics, will soon be airing many men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as football games, exclusively on Peacock. The streaming service is $4.99 per month. This may sound less than the other services; however, it adds up quickly.

The need for multiple subscriptions comes when a fan wants to watch games from different sports markets. For example, if a person supports teams from Tennessee and does not live in the Nashville TV market, they will need to view different games on different streaming services. Just to watch an NFL and NHL game from a city of one’s liking, that could run a person at least $18.99 per month.

This truly an unprecedented shift for sports fans. When streaming services became increasingly popular, people wanted content in one place for a reasonable price. Fans do not want to have up to ten subscriptions simply to watch their favorite sports teams which results in many bills to pay each month. It is notable how despite how pricey these services are, many individuals will do whatever it takes to watch certain sports games. However, there are significantly more people who simply cannot afford the additional monthly payments.

It should not cause individuals stress to be a sports fan. It should be the complete opposite–a fun thing to look forward to after a long day of work. Unfortunately, the prevalence of the streaming service is just beginning, and it will only become more complicated and expensive for fans until these services begin to lose money rather than make millions from these additional add-ons. Although cutting the cable cord may be the present and future of television, the streaming service gold rush may be just next to it.

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