Blue Jersey Gators Obama Stitched 1 People aren’t ready to abandon watching sports on TV, yet.
Internet streaming-video services for live sports are biding time, buying up the rights to sports like cricket, boxing, and soccer, until 2021, when the flood gates open to the big four US sports leagues—the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. Those are the sports that platforms like ESPN+, Bleacher Report Live, and DAZN, as well as tech companies like Amazon and Facebook, will need to attract casual sports fans to sign up for their services. Without the ability to offer professional sports like football, basketball, baseball, and hockey in the US, there’s little reason for anyone who’s not a diehard, or a fan of a niche sport, to pay monthly for a mixed bag of matchups. For now, it’s easier to stick with regular TV subscriptions, or watch your team play at a local bar.
Traditional media companies, like CBS, Fox, ESPN, NBC, and Turner, have the rights to the big four US leagues locked up in multi-year deals worth hundreds millions of dollars apiece. Beginning in 2021, the rights go up for bidding again. It will set off a frenzy between the legacy sports networks eager to maintain their dominance in live sports and the tech companies trying to break into the space.