Streaming and Out-of-Market Services
Chapter 6, “Streaming and Out-of-Market Services,” explores the impact of emerging digital platforms on the sports television marketplace, with an emphasis on the transmission of out-of-market telecasts. There is little debating that streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu transformed fictional television. Marquee sports rights, however, did not migrate to digital platforms in the 2010s, although there were experiments with secondary rights and less prominent games and events. The major sports media conglomerates were all engaged in this space but took divergent approaches to the integration of new media. The tactics of Disney and AT&T were representative of these differences, with the former building ESPN+ around a model that collected a lower price per month from a larger subscriber base, while the latter offered more targeted packages of events through B/R Live for a higher monthly price. There are also differences in how the professional sports leagues approached streaming platforms, with a focus on out-of-market packages and secondary rights. The true impact of streaming is most evident with European football, where rights to matches are scattered among various services. The one area where more prominent events are making inroads on streaming platforms are combat sports – boxing and mixed martial arts – both of which have long histories of pay-per-view.