Sports and streaming

The primary reason I have kept DirecTV all these years has been sports. The ESPN channels, Fox Sports, SEC Network, ACC Network, NFL Network, etc… Up until this past year I have pretty much been able to watch the college and pro major sports games I want to watch on a channel somewhere in my lineup. A few years ago we added ESPN+ to our streaming services so we could watch college volleyball as well.

One thing that has annoyed me about streaming sports is that even though you are paying for content, some of it will still remain locked behind a second paywall depending on the sport and the teams involved. For example, we watch my daughter’s college volleyball games on ESPN+ as they carry all of the Sun Belt Conference volleyball matches (and other sports). However, when her team plays an SEC team or an ACC team (which happens multiple times in a season) we have to enter our DirecTV login information in order to watch (even through ESPN+) because those conferences have the SEC+ Network and ACC+ Network which are additional streaming costs (if you don’t already have them through your cable provider). So without cable, just to watch my daughter play volleyball in a season I would need to subscribe to THREE streaming services, FOUR if they ended up playing a B1G team in there somehow as well. If sports ends up moving primarily to streaming I would expect a lot more of this sort of fragmentation, and it will not be popular with fans.

Just want to mention here that after the fiasco of AT&T buying DirecTV, now apparently they want to spin them off to their own entity (presumably to die but who knows.) This will also affect their streaming platform, since AT&T merged that with DirecTV and I have no idea how that will shake out.

My wife is upset, she’s grown fond of DirecTV streaming, I’m so-so on it. We can get 95% of that on another streaming service, but of course, it’s the details that count, and that means sports as well.

I absolutely LOVE DirecTV stream.

It is awesome, it works everywhere, and I get to watch all of my Bucks/Brewers games through there, (and in the summer I can pop a tablet on my WFH desk to put the Brewers games on in the background)

As for sports moving to streaming?

What did we expect? Why give it away for free on broadcast TV when you can make money charging people AND still showing ads.

One of the interesting things in that Peacock only game, was they said the 4th quarter was ad free and sponsored by something or other.

You move sports to streaming and reduce the ads? That seems like a good trade off. One that will never happen, because capitalism.

We also seem to have no issues streaming to multiple devices (up to 3.) As an example my wife is streaming via Roku to the living room TV, I’m streaming on my gaming PC to a game, and sometimes even stream to a tablet beside me for something else.

As a Washington Nationals fan, my only options to stream the team’s games are to use a local cable service (for me it’s Fios or Xfinity) or use DirecTV stream. It’s all because of the screwed up situation the streaming rights are in (which happened when the Expos moved to DC and had to deal with Peter Angelos of the Orioles for rights in the DC area). So there’s no inexpensive way for me to see the games. Or rather, it’s gonna cost around $100/month for any of those services (and in fact I pay around that much to Verizon for my monthly internet access and cable combined)

It gets more complicated because my FiOS service doesn’t allow me to stream most sports to a browser on my laptop. I am forced to use the FiOS app on my iPad (at least when I had Xfinity I could stream anything on my PC). And it just got more fragmented because the RSN that shows the Washington Wizards games just put out an app to stream their content, so if for some reason I want to watch a Wizards game I have to run the Monumental Sports app on my iPad. I hate this fragmentation!

Sadly sports and streaming are inevitable partners. There is no stopping it from happening. I just saw an article today that the Detroit Tigers are working on having their games streamed on Amazon. Over the air network TV is dying. Cable is in its late stage life as streaming speeds have caught up to and even in some cases surpassed cable. Entertainment will go full on streaming and there is not much that can stop it. Of course they inevitable combined packaging of various streaming platforms will happen. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

So I decided I want to start watching the WRC this year and the only way to actually watch live events is through their streaming service Rally TV. I bought a month to try the other day and was watching some archival videos. It’s a nice service, though unfortunately a little pricey. $15 a month to watch 1-2 rally events is a bit steep, especially for a casual fan. They also include World Rallycross (which I also enjoy) and ERC events as well though, so I guess it’s not too bad.

Well I found out why the Tigers will be on Amazon in the future. Apparently Amazon has purchased a stake in Fox Sports. The great consolidation has begun.

Diamond Sports Group (who owns the Bally/Fox Sports regional networks) filed for bankruptcy early last year and has been fighting with teams about what, if anything they’d pay for the rights while still airing games. In the case of two teams, that was nothing… so the league took over their broadcasts. Amazon buying a stake instead of an outright purchase is probably delaying any consolidation, honestly.

The more they paywall the less I watch. I enjoy some sports but I don’t really need to watch any of them.

I subscribe to a local Bally app but this season I’ve barely used it. Just putting it into the Amazon ecosystem would help me out. I’d expect the subscription interface and streaming technology to be much better. We’ll see what actually happens.

I’m a big sportcar racing fan. I started this tread talking about Daytona 24 being 90% behind a paywall this year. My feelings are exactly like yours…maybe I just won’t watch as much.

I said that in a sportscar fan group, and they were (mostly) just pay the money ya cheapskate. So if that is the public sentiment, we will see lots more of this.

Heh, I suspect that a self-selected group of fans posting on a group for [thing] is going to be all-in on [thing] and much happier to pay for it than the general public :)

The end result is probably more paywalls and then the content will still have commercials.

Still better than the old days where it was free (with commercials) and you got a few college football games a week, even less baseball and basketball and certainly nothing from teams outside your market. Maybe they had hockey on TV up north (Canada I’m sure) but the broadcast sports scene was pretty barren. Except for Sunday and Monday nights during football season. I mean, it’s annoying trying to find which service to follow whichever team you want (hopefully that’s better now for all those who’s teams had Diamond contracts) but it can pretty much be done.

Except we WILL get fooled again…and again…

Looks like that new streaming partnership is all about sports

What ESPN, Fox and Warner settled on was to create a slimmed-down version of a cable bundle in streaming form that is focused on sports. The as-yet-unnamed service, expected to launch this fall, will carry 14 networks, including Disney’s ESPN channels and its ABC network, Warner’s TNT and TBS, and Fox’s broadcast network and sports cable channel. The service will feature sports including the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball, college football and basketball, golf and Nascar.

By packaging together all the content, the companies are hoping they can bring in enough sports-first customers to make the economics work. Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall projected, based on various assumptions, that the service could break even if around six million subscribers paid at least $40 a month.

The companies are discussing a price that could approach $50 a month, people familiar with the situation said.

Yeah, it’s WSJ, but it wasn’t paywalled for me from Mediagazer. YMMV.

I figure this is a pretty big threat to SlingTV/Hulu Live TV/YoutubeTV/DirectTV/FuboTV. If the sports I need to watch are on this new service for a smaller price compared to those, then there is no reason to get those other services periodically anymore.

I’m not subbing for $50 to watch just sports.

That’s good to know! So those services still have a market.

I personally can never find anything to watch besides sports when I sub for a month to watch Tennis or Cricket or Soccer, etc. I usually try to watch something else besides Sports, but I can never find anything to watch. For instance, I love FX shows on Hulu, so I thought, aha, now for a month I have access to actual FX, so I’ll just see what shows are currently running. Oh, I see, they don’t have the new season of Reservation Dogs? That’s only on FX on Hulu? Why is it not on FX? They’re in the middle of a season of a show that I haven’t started yet? I guess that’s worthless too.