The Current State of Sports Streaming

In today’s digital age, streaming has become a popular method for consuming media, particularly when it comes to sports. With the convenience of being able to watch live games on any device and the increasing availability of streaming services, it’s no surprise that sports streaming has seen significant growth in recent years.

In this article, we will delve into the latest statistics on sports streaming, exploring its current state, key players in the market, and predictions for the future. So grab your popcorn and get ready to dive into the world of sports streaming!

1. The Current State of Sports Streaming

The Current State of Sports Streaming
The Current State of Sports Streaming

The Growth of Sports Streaming Services

The popularity of sports streaming can be attributed to several factors, including the rise of internet connectivity, advancements in technology, and the changing viewing habits of consumers. According to a study by GlobalWebIndex, watching sports online has increased by 23% since 2016, with 37% of global internet users tuning in to sports content via streaming platforms.

One of the primary drivers of this growth is the increasing number of sports streaming services available to consumers. These services offer various packages and pricing options, making it easier for viewers to access their favorite sports events without being tied down to expensive cable or satellite subscriptions.

Some of the most popular sports streaming services include ESPN+, DAZN, fuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV. These services offer live coverage of major leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and major soccer leagues worldwide.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Sports Streaming

The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions in the sports industry, leading to the cancelation or postponement of many major sporting events. As a result, there has been a surge in demand for sports streaming services, as fans look for alternative ways to stay connected to their favorite teams and leagues.

According to a report by Conviva, there was a 63% increase in streaming hours for live sports content in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019. This growth can be attributed to the fact that many sports organizations have started offering streaming options for their events, allowing fans to watch from the safety of their homes.

Moreover, with the lack of live sporting events, many sports streaming services are also offering classic replays and highlights to keep viewers engaged during this downtime. This has resulted in a 21% increase in video views for sports content in the first half of 2020.

2. Key Players in the Sports Streaming Market

Broadcasters Turn to Streaming

It’s not just dedicated sports streaming services that are capitalizing on the growing trend of online sports viewing. Traditional broadcasters are also jumping on the streaming bandwagon, as they see it as a way to reach a wider audience and compete with online-only platforms.

For instance, NBCUniversal launched its streaming service, Peacock, in July 2020, which includes coverage of the English Premier League (EPL) and select Olympics events. Similarly, CBS offers live streaming of NFL games through its subscription service, CBS All Access.

This trend is likely to continue as broadcasters seek to diversify their revenue streams and cater to the changing viewing habits of consumers.

Social Media Platforms Enter the Game

Another significant development in the sports streaming market is the entry of social media platforms into the game. Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have all struck deals with major sports leagues to stream live games on their platforms.

For example, Twitter secured the rights to stream Thursday Night Football games during the 2016-17 season, while Facebook has broadcasted MLB and MLS games in the past. These partnerships allow social media platforms to capitalize on the popularity of live sports and attract more users to their platforms.

Tech Giants and Their Foray into Sports Streaming

Tech giants like Amazon, Google, and Apple are also eyeing a piece of the sports streaming pie. Amazon has been streaming Thursday Night Football games since 2018, while Google’s YouTube TV offers live coverage of various sports events.

Apple has also made its foray into sports streaming with the launch of its subscription service, Apple TV+, which includes exclusive live sports content such as NBA games and PGA Tour Live.

These companies have deep pockets and vast resources, making them formidable competitors in the sports streaming market. As they continue to invest in this space, we can expect to see even more growth and innovation in the coming years.

3. The Most Popular Sports for Streaming

 The Most Popular Sports for Streaming
The Most Popular Sports for Streaming

The Top Contenders: Soccer and American Football

When it comes to the most popular sports for streaming, soccer and American football take the top spots. According to a survey by GlobalWebIndex, soccer is the most-watched sport online, with 19% of global internet users tuning in to watch games via streaming services.

American football closely follows, with 16% of global internet users streaming games online. This popularity can be attributed to the widespread availability of these sports on both traditional and streaming platforms worldwide.

Basketball and Baseball Gain Traction

Basketball and baseball also rank high on the list of popular sports for streaming, with 13% and 11% of global internet users streaming these sports, respectively. The NBA and MLB have taken steps to make their games more accessible to online viewers, including offering live streaming options and partnering with various streaming services.

Moreover, with the growing popularity of international basketball leagues such as the EuroLeague and the Chinese Basketball Association, we can expect to see an increase in streaming demand for these sports in the future.

Emerging Trends: Esports and Women’s Sports

Two emerging trends in the sports streaming market are esports and women’s sports. Esports, or competitive video gaming, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years and is now a billion-dollar industry with a growing fanbase worldwide.

With the rise of dedicated esports streaming platforms such as Twitch and Mixer, fans can easily tune in to watch live tournaments and events from the comfort of their homes.

Women’s sports have also seen an increase in streaming demand, with 8% of global internet users streaming women’s sports online. As more resources are being invested in promoting women’s sports and offering live streaming options, we can expect this trend to continue in the future.

4. Sports Streaming Viewership by Region

North America Leads the Pack

When it comes to regional viewership for sports streaming, North America takes the lead. According to a report by Conviva, North America saw a 28% increase in streaming hours for live sports content in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

This growth can be attributed to the widespread availability of sports streaming services in the region, as well as the cancelation of live sporting events due to COVID-19. Moreover, with major leagues such as the NFL and NBA being based in North America, it’s no surprise that this region leads in sports streaming viewership.

Europe Follows Closely

Europe closely follows North America in terms of sports streaming viewership, with a 20% increase in streaming hours for live sports content in the first half of 2020. Europe is home to some of the most popular soccer leagues in the world, including the EPL, La Liga, and Bundesliga, which all offer live streaming options for their games.

Moreover, with the rise of streaming services such as DAZN and the increasing popularity of international sports events like the EuroLeague, Europe is likely to see continued growth in sports streaming viewership.

Asia Pacific Sees Significant Growth Potential

Asia Pacific is a region with significant growth potential when it comes to sports streaming. With a large population of sports fans and a rapidly growing internet penetration rate, this region is poised for exponential growth in the future.

According to a study by Statista, the number of sports video viewers in Asia Pacific is projected to reach 1.6 billion by 2023, making it the largest market globally. As more sports organizations tap into this market and offer streaming options, we can expect to see a significant increase in viewership from this region.

5. The Future of Sports Streaming

The Rise of Exclusive Content

One trend that is likely to continue in the future is the rise of exclusive content on sports streaming platforms. While traditional broadcasters have long relied on their exclusive rights to popular sports leagues and events, we are now seeing streaming services follow suit.

For instance, DAZN has secured the exclusive rights to stream the EPL in several countries, while ESPN+ offers exclusive coverage of UFC events. This trend is likely to continue as streaming platforms look for ways to differentiate themselves and attract more subscribers.

Technological Advancements

As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more innovative features and capabilities being offered by sports streaming services. For example, live VR streaming could become more widespread, allowing viewers to feel like they’re at the game without leaving their homes.

Moreover, advancements in AI and machine learning could also enhance the viewing experience by providing personalized recommendations based on viewers’ preferences and behavior. These developments will make sports streaming even more convenient and engaging for viewers.

The Impact of 5G

The roll-out of 5G networks across the globe will also have a significant impact on sports streaming. With faster and more reliable internet speeds, viewers will be able to enjoy high-quality live streams without any buffering or lag.

Moreover, 5G will enable sports organizations to experiment with new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, making the streaming experience even more immersive for viewers.

6. Challenges and Opportunities in Sports Streaming

Challenges and Opportunities in Sports Streaming
Challenges and Opportunities in Sports Streaming


While sports streaming is undoubtedly on the rise, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed. One of the biggest challenges is illegal streaming, which causes significant financial losses for sports leagues and broadcasters.

Moreover, with the increasing number of streaming services available, viewers may find it overwhelming and costly to subscribe to multiple platforms to access all their favorite sports events. This fragmentation of content could lead to a decline in viewership and revenue for sports organizations.


Despite these challenges, there are also many opportunities in the sports streaming market. With the rising popularity of niche sports and the emergence of new technologies, there is room for growth and innovation in this space.

Moreover, as more sports organizations offer streaming options, we can expect to see an increase in the availability of live games and events, providing fans with more choices and flexibility in how they consume sports content.


In conclusion, sports streaming has come a long way in recent years and shows no signs of slowing down. The convenience, affordability, and variety offered by streaming services have made them a popular choice among sports fans worldwide.

With the continuous advancements in technology, the market is only going to get more competitive, leading to more innovative features and offerings for viewers. As more consumers shift towards online viewing, traditional broadcasters will also need to adapt to stay relevant in the sports industry.

From exclusive content to virtual reality and 5G networks, there are many exciting developments on the horizon for sports streaming. So whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual viewer, it’s safe to say that the future of sports streaming looks bright.

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