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More Streaming Sports Coverage Means More Subscriptions

Michael King

The sports subscription video on demand (SVOD) category has grown nearly 200% in size between 2018 and 2020, according to new data released by Antenna. They point out several specifics, however.

First, some of the single-sport services pause their billing during their off-seasons. Second, premium entertainment subscription services like Paramount+ and Peacock, have significantly added to the amount of live sports they carry in the midst of their program mix in order to attract more subscribers.

Growth of Sports on Sports Services

In terms of stand-alone products, ESPN+ has more than quadrupled its subscriber base, they said, which accounts for more than half of the overall Sports SVOD category’s growth in the two-year time period. The growth from ESPN+ was driven largely by UFC PPV events starting in 2019.

The OTT service from WWE had more than doubled its subscriber base during the same period — before the wrestling federation licensed its streaming rights exclusively to Peacock.

The only Sports SVOD service to subscription numbers fall in the United States, according to the Antenna study, was DAZN. Their numbers fell, the study said, as the streamer pursued a more internationally-focused strategy.

In addition, they said, though ESPN+ has grown significantly as a stand-alone service, the Disney Bundle — which groups ESPN+ with Hulu and Disney+ — accounts for more than half of the service’s subscriber base.

Sports on Premium Entertainment Subscription Services

Paramount+, due to its historic presence with CBS Sports, has already has had a strong relationship with the NFL, College Football and Basketball, the PGA Tour, and PBR Tour. Some events from each have been carried on Paramount+ in recent months.

Paramount Plus

Paramount+ is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 12,000+ TV show episodes including originals Star Trek: Discovery, Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, and MTV’s Laguna Beach. Meet captivating characters, catch up on your favorite sport, explore new worlds in the growing collection of Paramount+.

Previously under the name ‘CBS All Access,’ Subscribers can choose between their Essentials Plan (which includes ads) for $4.99/month, or go commercial-free with their Premium Plan for $9.99/month.

With their Premium Plan, in addition to not having ads, you will also get access to your local CBS affiliate to stream your local news, prime-time line-up, and late-night. You will also be able to download offline and watch select shows in 4K.

With the lower cost “Essential” plan, you will still be able to watch live NFL games, Champions League, and national news – but you will no longer get your local CBS affiliate like the old ad-supported plan.

With their new app, enjoy advanced recommendations, curated homepages, and new content categories while still being able to stream major live sports like NFL, College Football, College Basketball. Sports fans will also appreciate the service’s inclusion of NFL on CBS, PGA Tour, along with every match of UEFA Champions League and Serie A.

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Over the past year, the streamer has forged its way onto the pitch, securing the rights to UEFA Champions League and Europa League, the CONCACAF Nations League, Argentine Primera División, Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Italy’s Serie A, and in the United States, the National Women's Soccer League.

Peacock is tied to NBC Sports, and as a result, will have an Olympic presence beginning this summer in Tokyo. Peacock is an integral part of the sports picture going forward, which includes the French Open tennis tournament this month in Paris and the Tour de France this month, alone.

NBC Sports will simulcast all of the network’s NFL coverage on Peacock beginning this year, and, of course, Notre Dame college football returns to NBC in September, with an expected presence on Peacock. With the sunset of NBC Sports Network by the end of this year, other sports programming will move to Peacock.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.

It will include news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.

The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like the entire Dick Wolf library including Law & Order and Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation, and The Office.

The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.

Some English Premier League soccer coverage has already shifted to Peacock Premium, and other premium services previously provided on the streaming NBC Sports Gold service are shifting to Peacock Premium also. Additionally, Peacock has become the streaming home for WWE, including all WWE pay-per-view and WWE Network-exclusive events live and on-demand.

CBS All Access reported its largest single-day sign-up event on Feb. 7, 2021 — the date of Super Bowl LV, according to the Antenna report. CBS All Access did not become Paramount+ until March 4, 2021. The largest driver of sign-ups to Peacock came with the airing of Wrestlemania 37 during the weekend of April 10-11, 2021.

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