Live Sports May Not Be That Critical in Preventing Pay-TV Churn, After All

November 15, 2022

This article is included in these additional categories:

Industries | Pay-TV & Cord-Cutting | Sports | Television

Eight in 10 sports fans have regularly or sometimes watched sports on a streaming or online channel this year, according to research from Nielsen. While one might assume that’s a key reason behind sports fans cutting the cord, that may not be the case as much as previously thought, per research from Aluma.

Surveying more than 1,160 US heads of household who use a home broadband service and subscribe to a pay-TV service, Aluma found that only 18% would be at least moderately likely cancel their pay-TV service if their favorite live TV sport moved exclusively to streaming, and just 8% would “definitely” cancel.

Those figures varied depending on the respondents’ favorite sport, but not drastically. Those who named the NFL as their favorite TV sport would be most likely to definitely cancel their pay-TV subscription if a full season of games moved exclusively to a streaming service, yet, only about 1 in 9 (11%) said they would do so. Respondents who named the MLB and the NBA their favorite sports to watch were even more reluctant to say they would definitely cut the cord, at just 8% and 7%, respectively.

The findings are interesting given the huge sums of money that streaming services are paying to lure sports programming away from pay-TV and the assumption that sports fully moving to streaming would signal a death knell of sorts for traditional TV. In fact, Aluma found that inertia is a bigger factor in preventing churn than live sports: among those not fully satisfied with their pay-TV service, one-third continue to subscribe because they’re “just accustomed to having it.” By comparison, fewer than one-fifth (18%) continue to subscribe because it’s their “go to source for live TV sports.”

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 2,398 US heads of household who subscribe to a home internet service.

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