Advanced Television

Report: Sports-driven SVoD subs have high value

November 8, 2023

In Antenna’s latest State of Subscriptions Report, the subscription economy analyst takes stock of US consumer subscription behaviour to assess the elements of the Sports streaming landscape.

To coincide with the release, Antenna highlights two of the several insights featured in the report:

The streaming audience for ‘Game of the Week’ Sports programming is reaching mass scale

Sports rights holders have effectively used licensing deals with big broadcast and cable networks to reach large audiences for select matches each week that appeal to a broad set of individuals, including more casual fans. These deals were important not only because they created big cultural (and advertising) moments, but also because they generated interest among future generations of fans who could be converted into enthusiasts.

Because these ‘Game of the Week’ deals were a crucial part of the economics of linear pay-TV, they were not broadly available to cord-cutters even a few years ago. Two years ago, fewer than 25 million Americans had subscriptions to a streaming service with ‘Game of the Week’ programming, and a year prior to that, it was under 10 million.

But with the recent launch of a Sports tier on Max, Antenna estimates that almost 50 million Americans have access to a robust collection of sports programming on across NFL football, MLB baseball, NHL hockey, NBA basketball, multiple different soccer leagues, and a variety of college sports from just four major streaming services (and only including individuals who specifically signed-up for ESPN+, as opposed to those who received it via the Disney Bundle).

Users who subscribe to an SVoD for sports can be high-value subscribers

Acquiring subscribers is just half the battle in a direct-to-consumer world; it is also critical to retain them. Conventional wisdom suggests that individuals who sign up for a service to watch a specific show often cancel when they finish that content. But sports-driven sign-ups often defy that logic and prove to be more loyal than the service’s benchmarks.

For example, those who subscribed to Peacock around Wrestlemania 37, the beginning of the NFL season in 2022 and EPL Matchweek 1 in 2020 were all better retained than the benchmark subscriber. The biggest delta existed for the EPL cohort – 69 per cent of users who subscribed to Peacock around Matchweek 1 were retained – a stark +24pts higher than the benchmark.


Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Content, Premium, Research, VOD

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