Live sports is a foundational part of the linear TV ecosystem, but there is a great deal of uncertainty around its role in the streaming world. To help provide insight into this critical topic, ANTENNA has launched Sports SVOD coverage.
The Sports SVOD category has almost tripled in size between 2018 and 2020; however, there are a few key nuances worthy of callout:
- To accommodate seasonality — certain single sport SVOD services pause billing in the off-season — we’ve created a Yearly Subscriptions metric: the total number of unique Subscribers for a service at any point in a stated year.
- Premium Entertainment SVOD services, such as Peacock and Paramount+, have increasingly leveraged live sports to grow and delight their Subscriber bases. While we do track those services, for the purpose of this post, we’ll focus on the pure-play Sports SVOD services.
The Sports SVOD category has grown nearly 200% (almost tripled) from 2018 to 2020.
As a standalone product (ie. not including the Disney Bundle), ESPN+ has more than quadrupled its Subscriber base, accounting for more than half of the category’s two-year growth. The standalone ESPN+ growth was driven, in large part, by UFC PPV events beginning in 2019. The WWE’s OTT service more than doubled over the same period before licensing its rights exclusively to Peacock.
ANTENNA observed a 68% growth rate from 2018 to 2020 for services that focus on a single sport or league.
ANTENNA is specifically tracking OTT DTC Subscriptions (both monthly and seasonal/annual), and not single game transactions or MVPD add-on packages.
- DAZN was the only Sports SVOD service to see a drop in U.S. Yearly Subscriptions from 2019 to 2020, as they pursued a more internationally-focused strategy.
- Even as ESPN+ has grown as a standalone product, the Disney Bundle accounts for over half of the service’s Subscriber base.
- Super Bowl LV on CBS All Access was the largest single day Sign-up event that ANTENNA has measured. Peacock’s April airing of WrestleMania 37 was the biggest Sign-up driver to the service since its inception.
ANTENNA will continue to track the category and observe consumer behavior with regards to many of the key questions that surround the space:
- Are Sports SVOD Subscribers prone to the same level of switching as Entertainment SVOD Subscribers?
- How valuable is live sports in driving acquisition, even for entertainment focused services?
- What is the loyalty profile of single sport, multi-sport, and sports + entertainment services, especially for users who Sign-up to watch a specific event?
Brendan Brady is a Content Strategy Associate at Antenna, a measurement and analytics company providing insight into purchase behavior and subscription metrics across the new media landscape.