Sports content can be seen as the glue that holds cable bundles together in a world of increasing unraveling due to SVOD and OTT services. However, if you step back and take a look, you’ll find that you can piece together a lot of what cable networks might offer in sports on the internet.
First off, Fox Sports has announced that it’s covering the FIFA Women’s World Cup across multiple platforms when the tournament begins in Canada on June 6. All of the games from the tournament will be available to stream through the Fox Sports Go app and online at FoxSportsGo.com.
Also announced was a partnership between Lax Sports Network and OTT video platform ViewLift on a digital channel that will offer lacrosse games from youth to professional levels, including live games. The channel will debut online and on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, and Roku devices on January 5, 2016. This comes after an April announcement that ViewLift had partnered with Gannett on a sports-focused OTT service, which as yet has no name nor release date.
Among the current sports live-streamers is Time Inc.’s 120 Sports — which just offers commentary, clips, and on-demand content…but no live games. Copa90 offers video content for soccer fans online, but again, it opts for stories over live footage. Of course, there’s also the likes of Vice Sports, which takes an “edgier” approach to video sports journalism, but can be described as just that — journalism.
None of this can replace live games, but other sports media companies, like ESPN, have gone a little further for digital viewers. Back in October 2014, the company made a deal with the NBA that included plans to offer OTT access to live pro basketball games — to people who don’t necessarily subscribe to ESPN TV.
FuboTV takes this even further. The digital sports subscription service, which goes for $6.99 a month and primarily targets soccer fans, offers live games per partnerships with international networks like beIN Sports, GolTV, BenficaTV, SportTV, Borussia Dortmund, Everton, and AFC Ajax. Dish Network’s digital SlingTV service also provides some extra sports channels for subscribers (if they pay $5 extra a month, on top of the $20 monthly fee for the service — which still isn’t too bad compared to paying for cable bundles).
Then there are the live-streaming video services. Both Meerkat and Periscope have been involved in some controversy for providing access to cable-only offerings, from “Game of Thrones” to the big Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. There’s lots of buzz about these apps threatening cable offerings (the aforementioned pay-per-view fight went for $100), but perhaps the bigger threat is in the form of legal digital sports offerings, which seem to grow more robust every day.