Streaming Wars For Live Sports, Entertainment, and Gambling

Peak Streaming

Please note that this article was from early April, and it was posted before several adverse developments here in May for the media and entertainment industry, which included the writers’ strike and some more generally dreadful reports on earnings for 1Q2023.

Bolded text is my addition for emphasis.

If you like charts and tables, there are some great ones in this article as well.

At the same time, streamers are contending with slower subscriber growth and heightened churn amid an overcrowded market. The major U.S.-based SVOD platforms added less than 100 million subscribers last year, down from about 133 million in 2021, and consensus Wall Street forecasts project about 65 million net additions for 2023.

Uh-oh. Seizing upon the trend, DIRECTV rolled out this ad in May. This ad is very well done including especially for the targeted market - families who are fed up with having to manage several streaming subscriptions and those who have cut the cord who are exhibiting some remorse. That’s not me in the target market, but no doubt even as a proponent I notice much amiss and not improving with the user experience for streaming video as compared to a year ago. In reality, my average viewing experience is WORSE before I can finally watch what I want to watch.

I spoke with a friend last evening about his experience with DIRECTV, for which the equipment and various signal costs are substantial in and of themselves.

Our reality, from the lens of the market leader in ratings that is live sports beyond the king that is the NFL in the US, is breaking down as follows:

  1. More Live Sports On Broadcast with more ads and heavier emphasis on gambling content beyond even the advertising.

  2. Niche sports on streaming with the very same

For many households, streaming video at anywhere from free (i.e. YouTube with ads, Netflix, Disney Bundle, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, MLB TV, et cetera) are free to many subscribers to various services including for residential internet, to perhaps no more than $20 per month for two subscriptions, is still is a savings over the average cable or satellite subscription for television service.

But is the experience equal to that of cable or satellite despite better choices for content? Overwhelmingly the answer is no, and from personal experience I can share that the experience is deteriorating as well with more lags and ads.

The best of all worlds would seem to include a video bundle with the prime content on over-the-air broadcast, which of course is free anyway, replays of live content available on a streaming service for weeks not days, and of course all other content on a streaming service with good performance.

CBS and Disney seem to be pushing in this direction the best, but they are a long, long way and losing BILLIONS per year.


The only silver lining I see in this climate for the average consumer is that the deals should be even better when you switch services, subject of course to the level of competition in your local market.

And as we have entertained in discussion already, if you are already getting your live sports via your cable or satellite company now along with reliable internet, now might not be a good time to cut that cord if you have not done so already. That window of prime opportunity has passed for many now, though of course there is still opportunity for others depending on what you desire on your plate for video and live sports.

One major change that will only continue is of course the demise of the regional sports networks and the end of that racket on the backs of too many cable customers, which will of course force fans to make changes in any affected local markets when the associated teams have not yet done a new broadcast deal as have the Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and Las Vegas Golden Knights.