As more and more people turn to streaming services for their entertainment needs, sports have also jumped on the bandwagon with their own dedicated platforms like Optus Sport, Kayo, Stan Sport, and Bein Sports.
While these services offer a wide range of sports and change the way people consume them, they are not without flaws. The current trend of rising prices exacerbates the issue, as these services are often the most cost-effective way to stay up to date on sports, but they also cause other aspects of the industry to miss out on crucial revenue.
Additionally, the ever-changing landscape of rights ownership can move certain leagues and competitions around, causing further disruptions. It’s clear that these streaming services are a double-edged sword for sports fans.
Impact of Live Attendance
For those who love sports, the thought of having access to a plethora of sports events from the comfort of their homes is an alluring idea. However, this convenience comes at the expense of forfeiting the raw and authentic atmosphere that is unique to live sports experiences.
In today’s world, watching sports events from home has become the preferred choice for many fans due to its affordability. For instance, Kayo offers a broad range of rugby league matches from Australia and England (except for the State of Origin and NRL Grand Final) for a monthly subscription of only $25. Meanwhile, a single concession ticket for a Newcastle Knights match costs the same amount, without the added benefits of food or merchandise.
Furthermore, Kayo provides access to other sports events, including American sports, AFL, car racing, golf, and much more. It has become a convenient and cost-effective way for people to watch sports at home, invite friends over, and save money on food and drinks compared to stadium prices.
Despite the convenience of watching sports from home, there is no denying that nothing beats the thrill and excitement of attending a live sports match. The high costs associated with in-person experiences, such as tickets, transportation, food, and merchandise, are the main reasons why many fans opt for the comfort of their homes and the big screen.
The Sport Streaming Service Arms Race
Though streaming services are a cost-effective way of watching sport, depending on how much you want to watch of a sport can become pricey when adding different services to your liking. Rugby League and Aussie Rules are fine as they are all on one service, but for a sport like soccer with so many interesting competitions, it gets mental on how to watch them all.
For the English and Spanish leagues and the World Cups you need Optus Sport. To watch the A-League you need Paramount Plus. For other European Leagues you can watch on Kayo now but will be on Bein’s own service when it leaves Kayo. And finally, Stan Sport for the big European continental competitions.
That is extremely excessive if you love soccer and want variety. You need to fork over some serious money. Worse thing about that is, they can all change. Once license contracts expire, it becomes a race to bid the highest bid to have the rights. So very easily in five years’ time, all these leagues will be on completely different sites.
This is bad, not even considering how in America for some of their sports you need different services to watch ONE competition. This has become a weird form of Darwinism for these streaming services, which isn’t unlike the other services for films and television.
In conclusion, streaming services have made it very convenient for fans to watch sports, but the issues of causing attendance to go down and the licensing wars constantly shifting where competitions and sport being hosted has certainly had a negative effect on sport and its viewers.
Only time will tell if content intake evolves into something fairer where every side can be taken care of.