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NFL and NBA Stream Older Games, Give Sports Fans Sense of Normalcy

Fern Siegel

Sports is a big deal for millions, so when the pandemic halted live games, streaming platforms stepped in. For example, the NBA League Pass and NFL Game Pass, usually $28.99 a month and $99/season, respectively, are now free. Their inventory is vast, includes many legendary games and gives fans some sense of normalcy.

The NFL saw “500 times the average number of daily sign-ups for Game Pass,” within the first three hours of Game Pass being free, according to The Wall Street Journal. YouTube and Twitch are also streaming previous MLB, MLS and NHL games.

Streaming isn’t expected to upend broadcast TV, which spends multimillions yearly for games, aired to a huge national audience. The bigger question for streamers: How many people, grateful for a free offer, will eventually become paid subscribers? asks the Verge.

Similarly, streamer Xumo noted a 30 percent boost in hours for the week of March 14 vs. Feb. 29. Xumo also saw news viewership rise. Xumo said the stay-at-home orders are resulting in a viewership spike at 11 a.m.

Verizon also reported a 2 percent increase in peak video traffic, a 7 percent increase in web traffic and a 3 percent increase in gaming over peak weekday traffic. The top VOD titles on Fios were “1917,” “Jumanji: The Next Level” and “Knives Out,” reports B&C.

These stats reflect findings by video analytics company Conviva: Streaming rose 26 percent in the U.S. from March 9 to March 23, with the biggest hike during daytime, a 39 percent uptick between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.