When the announcement came that the 2020 NBA season was suspended because of coronavirus concerns, many sports fans were shocked that a major league would put their action on hold. But when March Madness, MLB, NHL, PGA, and, well, virtually every other sport around the world followed suit, it became apparent this was something serious.
And now that the pause button has been pressed on sports around the globe, a question has risen. What are sports fans watching? Roku, the most popular streaming platform, recently revealed some insight into how users on their platform are reacting. This data comes from late March and early April.
Most notably, sports fans are watching more content in general than they usually do. And that’s not just because everyone is working from home. Those who were watching NBA and NHL action in the weeks before stay-at-home orders started actually increased their usage at a faster rate than other users.
So what are they watching? Given the current conditions around the world, most of these users started streaming more news. But it’s interesting to see that NBA fans started watching more movies and lifestyle content while NHL fans tuned in to music and live TV. Reality TV was also popular among basketball fans while international programming attracted more hockey viewers. Like the NBA, people who streamed March Madness last year also primarily switched to films.
While it’s not clear why sports fans started consuming more content than non-sports fans, this all does raise an important question. Stay at home orders across the nation have already led to unprecedented levels of streaming. Since many people subscribe to cable packages specifically to keep up with their favorite team, will the lack of live sports finally cause people to consider their cable bills and accelerate cord-cutting?
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