NEW YORK—With the ability to watch most sports live, sports fans are remaining loyal to pay-TV providers, according to Grabyo’s 2019 Sports Video Trends Report, but trends are forming that make the relationship seem a little tenuous should the market change.
Pay-TV broadcasters hold the rights to most valuable sports properties around the world, but that doesn’t mean that viewers are watching theme exclusively on their TVs. Glaybo found that 65% of sports fans watch games most often through their smartphones, while 53% do so on their laptop or desktop, a clear example of consumers’ shift to online streaming. TV sets are most regularly used by 40% of those surveyed.
While pay-TV holding the rights for many of these sports has slowed the rate of cord-cutting for sports fans (more than half still subscribe to a pay-TV service), different platforms are becoming more engaging for sports fans. Graybo says that nearly 25% of sports fans use social media platforms more often than pay-TV to watch video, including just under one in five that visit with the specific intent to watch video.
“Consumer expectations have changed. Sports fans are looking at other media services available across a range of devices and platforms and see more flexibility than is available in sports,” said Gareth Capon, Graybo CEO. “Digital distribution has grown across online platforms and social media, and consumers have flocked to these platforms. However, in today’s media rights market, linear broadcasters dominate and sports fans have no choice if they want to watch live sport. Our data suggests that the demand is there and if an online competitor—perhaps Amazon or YouTube—invest in a meaningful live offering, then consumers will welcome this with open arms and the shift to digital media in sports will accelerate.”
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