While 2020 has not brought much in terms of live sports thus far, the amount of people who plan to watch them online is still projected to grow. Digital live sports viewership is projected to increase 14% this year. Approximately 36.5 million people – 23.7% of total U.S. sports viewers – are expected to watch digitally, up from 32 million last year.
That shift comes as consumers pivot away from cable subscriptions and instead go with OTT platforms. Last quarter, the pay TV bundle business lost 1.8 million subscribers. Most of those digital viewers – 17.1 million – are tuning in through multichannel distributors such as Sling TV, Hulu, and YouTube TV.
But as more sports return from their pandemic hiatus, more fans will also find ways to tune in illegally. A survey recently found 51% of sports fans use pirate services to watch live sports, despite 89% owning a subscription platform.
- 42% who regularly use illegal streams watch sports daily.
- 31% said not having a game broadcast locally is a motivator for illegal providers.
- 29% have paid the piracy site.
- 16% don’t use illegal services.