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Cable TV No Longer The Future For The Soccer Viewing Fan


With cable and satellite prices continuing to increase, many people are joining the cord cutter movement and ditching their television provider services. In fact, 7.6 million Americans have ended their cable/satellite subscriptions according to USA Today. In the report, the newspaper claims that “about 6.5% of households nationwide have cut the cord, up slightly from 4.5 percent in 2010”. The highly-decorated newspaper also suggests that up to 15% of people who have internet at home will be ditching their television provider services within the next six months.

While many cord cutters are relying on Hulu and Netflix for their TV comedies, dramas, and movies, sports fans are using their computers and smart phones to watch their favorite leagues and teams play. With tools such as DishWorld, Fox Soccer 2GO, MLS Live, ESPN 3, and BBC iPlayer, it’s easier than ever to watch soccer without paying upwards of $100 a month in cable/satellite bills.

According to FIFA, the 2014 World Cup broke all kinds of records for viewing matches and highlights online. During the tournament, FIFA director of TV Niclas Ericson stated, “We are proud to say that this FIFA World Cup has been the biggest multimedia sporting event in history, with more people watching matches and highlights online than ever before”.

FIFA also has the numbers to back up this statement. As of July 7th, FIFA stated that 24 million people had already watched over 15 million hours of World Cup content using FIFA’s multimedia service alone. Stefan Wildemann, manager of sales and distribution at FIFA TV, reiterated Ericson’s thoughts, saying: “More and more football fans want to watch high quality, live coverage of matches on their tablets or mobile phones, as well as on their televisions. These figures show just how fast our industry is adapting to a truly multimedia world. Only on the digital platforms can fans watch the FIFA World Cup from every possible angle”.

With the introduction of online-based sports programming, plus now a TiVo DVR catered towards cord cutters, cable and satellite providers may just be in a standing eight count. The number of people switching to the internet to watch soccer, and other sports for that matter, is likely only to increase in the near future.

News of Americans defecting from traditional television provider plans and switching to more internet or antenna use surely does not sit well with cable/satellite companies. These cable and satellite providers essentially have two options. Either drastically lower prices to their plans or alternatively go the route of the rotary phone and die off.

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  1. Malolm Grey

    February 20, 2016 at 8:04 pm

    I enjoy all of the soccer on cable but it is truly the only reason we subscribe. Having a pathological hatred of commercials we get ALL of our other TV from PBS, or via our Roku.So I feel bitter about having to pay for a lot of channels I do not want.
    \Perhaps the networks could sell just an EPL package for a reasonable price. It just might be profitable!

  2. george jetson

    March 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    If the EPL is getting paid 6-9 billion a year for rights, they are damned well going to try to limit free access.

  3. Guy

    August 27, 2014 at 11:03 am

    While I watch almost all my “regular” TV through my ROKU, being a sports fan there is no way I can cut the cord given present circumstances. Besides the Premier League I watch rugby, Aussie Rules, a lot of NCAA football and some NFL. No way to legally do that without cable.

    • Hickorwind

      August 27, 2014 at 12:52 pm

      Exactly. This guy wrote basically the same article a few days before. I wish it were true, but it’s not.

  4. Jessica

    August 27, 2014 at 9:22 am

    We cut the pay tv cord last night and will be using an antenna, Roku, and Netflix. ESPN 3 is great and also Fubo TV on Roku. Cable and Satellite companies are greedy.

    • Matt

      August 27, 2014 at 9:46 am

      ESPN3, just like NBC Live Extra, won’t work without a cable/satellite subscription.

      I used to stream content illegally when I was in college, mostly because I didn’t have access to legal means of getting live sports content. Fox Soccer 2Go’s awful product and high price certainly helped keep me off cable for my first three years too. But as soon as I was living in a house off campus as a senior my roommates and I got DIRECTV, both for the amazing soccer coverage (especially the Premier League coverage on Fox/ESPN as well as all the Champions League and Europa League overflow channels) and the free NFL Sunday Ticket.

      • Jessica

        August 27, 2014 at 11:35 am

        Certain internet companies throw in espn 3 as a bonus. Also free NBC, free Fox, show soccer over the air. Would be nice if Soccer Made in Germany came back to PBS.

  5. yespage

    August 27, 2014 at 9:15 am

    The EPL is pretty much the only reason I have Sat TV. At least NBC has given me an option for watching every game live, making the price more worth it.

  6. Martin J.

    August 27, 2014 at 8:33 am

    There is no way that someone who wants to watch EPL games can do so without cable or satellite. To access internet streaming of EPL games you MUST be a cable/satellite subscriber to NBCSN. The same goes for the other European leagues. To access internet streaming of La Liga games you MUST be a cable/satellite subscriber to beIN. ESPN3 does have some soccer games but they are few and far between and do not allow for one to have access to all games for an entire league.

    This article is way off the mark.

  7. Ryne

    August 26, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Like Graham says, I was pretty happy without cable and there are a lot of options for TV shows… but it’s the exact opposite for sports. Not only can you not watch EPL legally without cable, but you also don’t have the great option of DVR to watch them later if you can’t catch them live.

    The only reason I went back to cable was for EPL. At least NBC Sports coverage is fantastic, otherwise it would be a very bittersweet pill to swallow, but they do their share to make it worthwhile. If I only watched Spurs matches, it would be pricy, but since I watch probably 5-6 matches a week, it’s great. For an extra $45 or so a month on top of my internet, it’s worth the price and the other TV is nice.

  8. Graham

    August 26, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Live sport is the one thing keeping people on cable not the other way round.

    Yes there are a lot of cord cutters out there, I’m one of them, but I’m going back to cable as part of my Google Fiber package precisely because of the lack of legal means for getting EPL and the like via the web. I know others who are doing the same.

    • yespage

      August 27, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Exactly. Sports is the only reason to have cable/sat tv these days. The alternatives aren’t overwhelming.

      Besides, is it really “cutting the cord” if you subscribe to $50+ of programming over the Internet?

  9. David

    August 26, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I disagree with this article. It’s really hard to claim cable is not the future for the soccer viewer. Cord cutters make up an extremely small margin while soccer ratings on cable/satellite continue to soar. For sports, it’s nearly impossible to cut the chord unless you don’t mind watching the awful illegal streams. Your part about the World Cup doesn’t have anything to do with chord cutters. You can’t watch games on ESPN 3 if you don’t have a cable/satellite subscription. Higher numbers of viewers watching the World Cup on phones or tablets doesn’t mean they are chord cutters. I did so because I was at work during the games. I can almost guarantee cable/satellite companies are not worried at all about chord cutters if less than 7% of households have cut the chord.

    • supertrev

      August 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

      Their subscriber counts may not be rising, but revenues continue to soar for the cable co.s due to the bundling of internet and home security etc. so they are not worried about cable cutters yet

    • CorbeauNoir

      August 28, 2014 at 5:22 pm

      But the quality of illegal streams has gone up significantly. Hell, you can sign up for certain online betting services, keep a token amount of cash in your account, and get good quality soccer streams ‘legally’.

      At the end of the day Netflix didn’t catch on like wildfire in some intellectual vacuum, people want that type of flexibility regardless of whether they also have a cable package or not. It’s 2014, people aren’t interested in being tethered to a TV for all their content anymore.

  10. Brian

    August 26, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    Instead of generalizations about cord cutters and the options they have for soccer, how about specifically naming the internet options for each of the leagues in Europe. For example, I know of no option for EPL games. NBC’s Sports Live Extra requires a subscription to NBC Sports on cable/satellite. Therefore you cannot get the same content without a cable/satellite subscription.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 26, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      The TV and Internet options are listed on our TV/Internet schedules page at

      • Matt

        August 29, 2014 at 12:48 pm

        I can only assume you’re trying to emphasize Brian’s point. Because when I click through to the EPL schedule, all I see are Internet options requiring a cable subscription.

        • Christopher Harris

          August 29, 2014 at 1:25 pm

          The article is about soccer viewing, in general, in the US, not just the Premier League. The TV/Internet schedules for La Liga, Serie A, Ligue Un and the Championship feature DishWorld, the cordcutting service from Dish, that doesn’t require a subscription to a TV provider.

  11. Hickorwind

    August 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    No current legal internet option for Premier League games, unless you subscribe to cable or satellite. How does that fit in to this story?

  12. Andy

    August 26, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Good luck legally being able to stream EPL in the US. Don’t mix up the requirement for a TV subscription with the method of delivering content.

  13. brn442

    August 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Actually cable companies are currently using a 3rd option: bribe congress and influence government to allow them to continue as (broadband) monopolies, whilst they buy up content providers, thus giving them the leverage to slowly disband net neutrality.

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