Soccer viewers often feel like they pay more to stream the sport. The breadth of the sport splits different competitions on different platforms. Rather than having one centralized spot, soccer fans must delve into two, three or even four services just to get all the content they may want.
For example, a Manchester United fan or Liverpool supporter needs to subscribe to Paramount+, ESPN+, Peacock and some sort of TV provider to watch all of their team’s games. That covers the Champions League or Europa League, domestic cups and English Premier League, respectively.
However, a new report states soccer fans in the United States are perhaps more willing to spend a pretty penny to watch their sport.
Parks Associates, a market research and consulting firm, released information that demonstrates sports fans’ willingness to pay more than $20 per month for all games.
Over 60% of soccer fans put themselves in the ‘high likelihood’ to pay more than $20 per month for all games. This is the highest of the 10 sports included. However, something interesting to note is that the other sports are specific leagues. For instance, Parks Associates used the NHL, NBA, NFL or MMA. Soccer is simply just soccer.
Soccer fans pay more to stream the sport
The report did mention Major League Soccer and its new deal with Apple. MLS and Apple announced MLS Season Pass, which is $14.99. This does fall under the umbrella of including “every game,” which the report did specify for the data.
MLS Season Pass may be less than the $20 benchmark. However, it does not include any of the leagues in Europe or South America and the international competitions. Including the previously mentioned services like ESPN+, Paramount+ and Peacock with MLS Season Pass takes the user comfortably over $30 per month. Moreover, this does not include a TV subscription to get most Premier League games.
Accustomed to paying more
One way to explain Parks Associates’ data is to say soccer fans are simply used to paying more to stream, and they want it that way. Well, soccer fans do not want to pay more, they simply want to have access to more competitions. Consequently, they are more comfortable paying for it.
There is slim competition to the NFL, and negligible challenges to the NHL, NBA and MLB. Soccer is different. One person may support Bayern Munich, the other supports Juventus. Those two teams have vastly different streaming requirements. Soccer is an expensive sport to watch just because of how spread out it is.
Subscription revenue in US to boom over next five years
Looking holistically at OTT sports rights in the United States, Parks Associates expects it to boom. In other words, streaming will become more frequent and natural for many providers, regardless of sport. MLS and Apple are one indicator, as is Amazon’s purchase of the Thursday Night Football rights in the NFL.
In 2022, OTT streaming revenue reached $13.1 billion. The estimate for 2027 is for that figure to hit approximately $22.6 billion. That represents a 73% increase in revenue.
If soccer can continue to make headway in popularity in the sport, there is reason to believe that. The general support of soccer will grow, and revenues will go up with that.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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