Dreaming Of An All-Encompassing Streaming Sports Channel

  • David Gonos

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If you haven’t noticed, television is struggling. The formerly exclusive ownership of the eyes of children and young people has slowly widened from just three TV networks to a couple hundred Cable TV channels to now the wide-open ocean of online content.

Whether it’s streaming channels, like Hulu and Netflix, or online content, like YouTube and Facebook, eyes have more entertainment viewing options than any time in world history.

The world of sports has also been hard-hit by the fickle tastes of Millennials looking for instant gratification, as evidenced by NFL viewership dropping considerably and ESPN laying off over 350 employees late in 2015.

Add drops in viewership numbers to the fact that there aren’t as many people attending games, and then mix that in with climbing player salaries — and you have a true bad economics issue on your hands!

So I thought I’d dream up something that we could all get behind! A streaming sports channel that gives you everything you want – for one price for the entire year.

Superstar: A Streaming Sports Channel to Rule the World!

No, we’re not talking about ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app or whatever poor attempt at branding the worldwide bleeder has tried in recent years. This streaming service would not replace their TV contracts, although, many of them would have to be amended, since streaming rights are often included in those deals.

Currently, you could pay about $35 per month to get every baseball, basketball and hockey game through their respective streaming apps. The NFL is stingy, as we know, but you have to assume that’s about to loosen up as they start showing more leg to get more viewers. Then, there’s soccer, college football, college basketball, PGA, NASCAR, and probably a half-dozen other sports that rank among the world’s most popular.

Right now, most of these have their own streaming app, or they are available through some network apps, like ESPN or CBS. Each one is different. Each one has good and bad features, and they’re all basically separated from each other.

But what if all those individual apps were pooled together for one giant streaming sports channel? Think Hulu for sports!

Hulu is actually a perfect example for this because the streaming channel offers tons of mixed content from major TV channels, and its owned by an amalgam of three major networks: ABC, Fox and NBC. Those three networks saw how streaming was the future, and they tried to get ahead of it and hedge their bets on their over-the-air channels.

Why can’t major sports leagues do the same? Sure, they’re incredibly selfish, and they don’t want to share any pieces of pie. But do we really think TV networks wanted to in the late 2000s?

How Would It Work?

Basically, take all the streaming sports apps with live games out there now, WatchESPN, MLB.tv, NBA TV, etc., and combine them into one streaming service with one monthly subscription fee. (Don’t expect to get it for $11 a month, though. Remember that those TV networks on Hulu are free over the air.)

Your subscription fee would have a few different tiers on it, and those tiers would be revamped every three years, depending on the popularity and viewership of different sports. This would also be when the service could renegotiate with the leagues.

Also, online subscribers would get a break on blackout restrictions! (Well, actually, they’d be paying for it in their subscription fee, but they don’t need to know about that.)

Besides live sports, you’d also get access to old games, too!

Also, the sports streaming channel will sign Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Russell Wilson and Jameis Winston for their commercials – multi-sports stars for a multi-sports channel!

Subscribers could then watch all the games, from any mobile or streaming device, from whichever tiers they signed up for, with our guess at the monthly cost:

Tier 1: Hall of Fame, $65 per month

All games and events from all leagues and associations – they’re yours. You can watch every game from MLB, the NBA, NFL and NHL, along with all of the PGA tournaments, European soccer games, NASCAR races, college basketball games and college football games.

Think about it – your 55-inch TV with surround sound and super-comfy couch is about 50 times better than watching the game at a bar or sitting behind the end zone.

This tier is for either the single guy/girl or the guy/girl that’s been married too long.

Tier 2: Grand Slam, $60 per month

This gives you access to games from just the four major U.S. sports: MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL. But you’re no longer getting the college games, soccer, racing or anything else. This one’s for the Boston fan living elsewhere, giving him Bruins, Celtics, Patriots and Red Sox games wherever he lives. Just another reason for his neighbors to hate him.

Tier 3: Bo Knows, $35 per month

Pick two main sports, and get everything else besides the two main sports you didn’t choose. Not a winter sports kinda guy? Skip NBA and NHL games. Living in Indianapolis? Stick with this tier and you’ll get all your Colts and Pacers games, with all of the other sports that aren’t the NHL and MLB.

Tier 4: Focus Tier, $20 per month

Some people focus on just one sport – and they want it in bulk. So subscribe to this tier and get it for less than what you’re paying for the league service now.

Tier 5: Out-of-Towners, $10 per month

Hey Euros! We didn’t forget about you. Sign up for this one and you’ll get all of your soccer, cricket and poddly-wonkers games on the cheap! Plus, you’ll still get access to the non-big-four sporting events.

Tier 6: News and Scores, FREE

Even if you don’t subscribe to any of the other tiers, you can still get news and scores on this channel, and we’d get a solid staff of opinion-sharers from the Internet sites, like Sportsgrid, to offer some interesting takes.

The future of live content is streaming – and the major sports leagues need to think about ways to offset any future losses. Our all-encompassing streaming sports channel should be their answer!

David Gonos

David Gonos has been writing about sports online since 2001, including CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com, NFL.com, MLB.com and SportsIllustrated.com.