An in-depth look at direct to consumer live sports
The GIST: Direct-to-consumer live sports are the way of the future, so let’s take an in-depth look at this new sports television frontier and the different approaches taken by companies and leagues to capitalize on it. Let’s make like Corbin Bleu and jump in!
The background: In general, streaming services are struggling. Many are failing to make a profit and are losing subscribers faster than the Pac-12 is losing teams. However, streaming deals are relatively new in the sports industry, so the potential success (or lack thereof) hasn’t fully played out yet. The only existing direct-to-consumer streaming has originated with the leagues themselves, like MLB TV or NBA and WNBA League Pass.
Soccer: As soccer continues to establish its presence and popularity in the U.S., it’s betting on the future of streaming. MLS, for example, is painting a success story with its Apple TV partnership (thanks, Messi!). The NWSL and UEFA tournaments are available on Paramount+, while Premier League fans can stream their teams on Peacock.
Basketball: Over on the court, the Phoenix Suns and Mercury were the first to announce a direct-to-consumer stream earlier this year, but hiccups with their former TV rights partner delayed their plans. Now that Phoenix’s local media rights deal is official, the franchise is reportedly working on finally bringing its plans to fruition.
- The Utah Jazz also announced a similar structure, then signed a partnership last week with internet video company Kiswe (the same one Phoenix partnered with) to help launch its streaming platform.
Football: Also last week, the NFL announced its football streaming platform, NFL+, will now give consumers the option of streaming NFL Network and RedZone with a premium subscription. Notably, the price point was based on research into what consumers could afford.
Sports bars: Last Friday, EverPass and Peacock teamed up to offer NBC Sports programs in bars and restaurants across the U.S. Media platform EverPass made a name for itself by providing NFL Sunday Ticket and will now allow establishments to subscribe to sports across the country, not just restricted to their local cable market.
- Direct-to-consumer is a whole new world for sports, but recent trends are showing that leagues and teams are prioritizing the fan experience and getting creative in providing access to their games. Living the