It is no surprise that TV consumption has been going down ever since mobile devices and streaming services went mainstream ten years ago. However, the rate in which it has diminished is staggering. According to the most recent Nielsen’s Total Audience Report, the time that adults between 18 and 34 years of age spent watching TV was down 77% in 2020 compared to 2015.
This shift towards streaming and on-demand entertainment has been beneficial in terms of consumers. They are getting premium content directly on their devices without the restriction of a specific schedule, limited viewing options, or the need to watch on a big, bulky device.
However, when it comes to what audiences can view in terms of sports, on-demand and streaming are still unable to compete with probably the only competitive advantage that TV has left: local and hyper-local programming.
While famous streaming productions are part of the massive cultural conversation, local sports events allow a connection between local communities. Unfortunately, TV networks still serve as gatekeepers for sports content, and local leagues need to rely on the local cable news to share results or coverage with fans.
That is why on-demand sports streaming might find its place among millennials and centennials viewing preferences. These users already have their attention spans and consumption patterns attuned to their devices. If they are presented with the opportunity to engage with local sports events –from their high schools, local colleges or junior sports leagues– in the same way as they open a Netflix app, they will most likely welcome the offer.