Football, baseball, basketball, and hockey are daily necessities that I need to watch, and I’m not alone. According to Statista, around 57.5 million people watch live sports daily.
There is one huge problem with watching sports nowadays…the cost.
If someone wanted to just watch any game from the major four U.S. sports it would cost them $5,159.71 annually—over $430 a month.
This cost is accumulated by a need to buy 15 streaming services, due to a split of broadcast rights and blackout dates.
The current method of streaming is not only expensive but it’s also annoying to use.
41% of 18 to 24-year-olds call themselves avid watchers of sports, and people in this age range can not afford this $430 bill, making it practically impossible for the biggest fans to watch games.
“Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” said SAC student Jad Thompson. “That’s like 1/3rd of most people’s rent, and in this economy, that’s your grocery bill. Your only alternative would be to get lucky and mooch off of someone who has these services.”
With the young demographic having a lack of access, sports viewership could continue on a decline.
Major League Baseball is the greatest offender of overpriced streaming and blackout dates.
Fans of the MLB have consistently blamed the current commissioner Rob Manfred for his struggle to get young audiences to watch baseball.
The average viewership of baseball’s championship, the World Series, has steadily declined over the past eight years. The most recent installment earned an average of eight million viewers per game, dwarfed by an average of 23 million average in 2016’s Fall Classic.
This cost and inconvenience have pushed younger fans to alternate ways of watching sports: online sites.
Sites like Sportsurge and Streameast have exploded in popularity due to their offering of free sports streams. Sites like these seem sketchy because they are covered in pop-up ads. However, they remain legal through loopholes in online streaming laws.
“Yeah, I just stream it,” said SAC student Ricky Garcia. “There is no way I would be able to spend that much, and the streams are free. It’s a pretty easy choice.”
While costs practically force people to pirate streams, this only drives up the costs of the official streams as they try to make up for lost viewership, creating an unending cycle.
Essentially with this system, fans create a boycott of the leagues.
The solution to this? The leagues have to drive down the cost of streaming, and make them accessible for everyday fans.
Changes must be made, or else the other leagues may face the same fate as the MLB; loss of money and fans.