Notwithstanding the cratering of viewership in last month’s Super Bowl LV, streaming services could be poised to snatch what has been the last vestige of appointment television: live sports, according to at least one influential analyst.
According to Nielsen, 96.4 million homes watched Super Bowl LV on TV, the lowest number since 2007. About 5.7 million homes streamed the game, the highest level for that metric ever.
In a research note that was issued before those ratings numbers were released, MoffettNathanson media analyst Michael Nathanson pointed to the growing trend of younger viewers migrating to streaming video, and that it would likely mean that sports would have to follow them. Nathanson didn’t expect big tent sporting events like the Super Bowl or the World Series to switch exclusively online, but he said games from various professional and college sports leagues, a staple of cable networks like TBS, TNT and regional sports networks owned by teams, could be in danger.