According to new research from Parks Associates, 27% of U.S. pay-TV households agree that sports programming is the primary reason they subscribe to their pay-TV service.
With data like that, it’s easy to see why services like ESPN can charge pay-TV providers some of the largest carriage fees in the country. Simply put, without live sports, pay TV would be in more trouble than it already is.
“While broadcast and pay TV remain key sources for live sports, OTT streaming options have become an important part of the live sports landscape,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates. “Increasingly, leagues and networks are offering direct-to-consumer options. These services offer access to content that would otherwise not be broadcast and subscription options to those not subscribing to pay TV. In the past several weeks, both CBS and ESPN have launched their own streaming services for sports content. These services will both compete with and complement major services such as WWE Network and MLB.TV. Over time, pay-TV providers will likely partner with these types of services in order to round out their existing channel packages.”
Given the proliferation of OTT streaming services that are sports specific and the reliance of major networks on massive rights deals, it will be interesting to see where the future of TV continues to head. At this point, live sports looks as if they will play an important role in how current and future generations consume TV.