Sports fans would pay extra for a “less fragmented” streaming service that offers the content they want. The lack of that one simple option means a majority of folks are still choosing cable over streaming when it comes to catching that live game.
That’s one of the big conclusions from the 2023 Sports Fan Insights: The Beginning of the Immersive Sports Era report by the consulting firm Deloitte’s technology, media, and telecommunications practice. According to the study, people still flock to cable 60% of the time due to ease of access.
Millennials are the most eager to jump on streaming for sports, with 46% signing up for subscription video-on-demand services to watch games over the last 12 months, and 30% of the total number surveyed opted for streaming.
Fans are leaning into streaming slowly and services are starting to spring up to cater to their needs. Warner Bros. Discovery on Tuesday launched the Bleacher Report Sports Add-On for free to Max subscribers that show games from TNT and TBS, with a fee coming next year. Fubo, a free streaming service, also offers live sports, including CBS Sports Network, ESPN, and Fox Sports, to name a few.
Still, fans want a subscription that grants them access to every one of their favorite team’s live games. The study shows that 70% of Gen Z and 80% of Millenial fans would pay extra for a “less fragmented” streaming service that offered all the sports content they want to watch instead of paying for multiple platforms or cable. About half of fans say they miss games because it’s not available through their subscriptions, and 44% say they have too many subscriptions trying to watch every game.
Additionally, the majority of fans across generational demographics said they prefer to watch sports streaming live over cable or broadcast because it offers a better viewing experience. But 64% of Gen Z preferred streaming, with 71% of Millennials also in agreement.
Deloitte’s report said immersive sports have the potential to let fans create a personalized “digital sports reality.” Virtual reality could let people watch the game through a player’s point of view, appealing to a third of Gen Z fans, and place fantasy sports bets in real-time. However, VR has yet to become popular with sports fans – only 5% surveyed said they’ve used it for sports, though there’s still some interest.
Another option, especially appealing to Millennials, is subscription streaming features integrating social capabilities into the service. Adding split-screen co-viewing so fans can still watch together even if they’re miles apart is important to many younger viewers, as is having easy access to live social feeds. Streaming services could offer real-time statistics fans can share on social media or buy team merchandise while watching the game.