Home Reviews Movies Why streaming platforms are making the move to host live sports – Film Daily

Why streaming platforms are making the move to host live sports – Film Daily

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Why streaming platforms are making the move to host live sports – Film Daily

After transforming how people consume television content over the past few years, the top streaming platforms are now on a mission to disrupt sports broadcasting.

Live sports are a hugely lucrative sector, and streaming giants such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are extremely eager to muscle into it.

Studies have shown that around half of us spend more time watching live sports than last year, and streaming companies want to capitalise.

Recent research from Archon discovered there has been a 26 percent fall in linear television viewership since last year, which is forecast to continue apace moving forward.

Amazon first acquired major sports rights in April 2017, signing a $50 million deal to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games to Prime subscribers.

They have subsequently embarked on a global mission to purchase the exclusive rights to air various sports including cricket, tennis and basketball.

One of their biggest successes was securing the rights to stream Champions League and Premier League matches, and they remain committed to becoming a major player in the sector.

Netflix has been a little slower to jump on the bandwagon, but the firm has finally started to make significant inroads in acquiring live sports rights.

A ten-year deal valued at more than $5 billion to air WWE Raw from January 2025 marked Netflix down as a serious player in the sports streaming stakes.

While strictly falling into the ‘sports entertainment’ category, the WWE’s top show averages around 1.5 million viewers per episode and is the top-rated show on the USA Network.

The acquisition of the rights to air the boxing match between former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and YouTuber Jake Paul is another example of Netflix’s move into live sports.

NFL matches are also scheduled to be aired on Netflix over the festive period, and the three-year deal could be the catalyst for more to follow in the future.

The NBA is the next major US sport which will be up for grabs, with the current deal with Disney and Warner Bros Discovery expiring at the end of next season.

Analysts have suggested the rights could be worth around $8 billion per year, but that figure is unlikely to deter Amazon or Netflix from bidding.

With basketball holding more global appeal than the NFL and other major US sports, acquiring the rights would be massive for either company.

Commissioner Adam Silver has long championed the impact streaming platforms will have on live sports, particularly when it comes to personalising the viewing experience.

“To the extent you want to follow a particular player, you want more data as you’re watching the game, you want to be chatting with your friends or part of a larger conversation with experts,” Silver said in 2022.

“All of those things are beginning to happen now in sports, but I feel like we’re just scratching the surface.”

One of the biggest challenges facing traditional broadcasters and streaming platforms is ensuring they offer competitive prices to consumers for live sports.

Piracy is growing rapidly as people increasingly turn to illegal outlets rather than pay excessive subscription charges for live sports content.

An estimated 20 million people illegally streamed the recent heavyweight title fight between Tyson Fury and Alexander Usyk, highlighting the scale of the problem.

However, given the quality of the other content available on their platforms, Amazon and Netflix may have an advantage in justifying their subscription costs.

Securing the rights to live sports has always been a fierce battleground. Adding streaming platforms into the mix is guaranteed to make those battles even more intense.

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