Limelight Networks Illustrates American Sports Fans’ Frustrations With Streaming in ‘State of Online Video 2020’ Report

Watching sports has changed significantly over the past few months. As leagues have returned, they’ve had to adopt unique ways of engaging viewers (virtual fans, fake crowd sounds, and “front-row view” tickets) as people are confined to their homes.

While streaming creates new opportunities for fans to take part in sports games virtually, a new report from Limelight Networks – “State of Online Video 2020” – reveals fan frustrations with streaming could keep them tethered to their cable boxes. The survey found that, since August, Americans watch only 2 hours and 12 minutes of sports online per week (their total average of watching all types of online video each week is 9 hours and 18 minutes).

  • When it comes to the type of streaming service they watch, Americans report spending the least amount of time (1 hour and 36 minutes per week) watching specialized sports streaming platforms, such as ESPN+ and Fubo
    • Compare this to their time spent with broad content providers like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime (5 hours, 30 minutes)

However, online video isn’t the only way Americans are watching sports. They’re still watching 8 hours and 54 minutes of broadcast TV each week, which sports is likely a part of- –

  • Some (19%) even report watching 10-20 hours of broadcast TV per week.

The reason sports fans aren’t making the shift to streaming is likely due to the frequent delays and disruptions:

  • Video rebuffering (48%) is the primary streaming frustration, followed by poor quality (27%)
  • The majority of Americans (63%) say that they’d be more likely to watch live events (such as a sports game) online if the stream wasn’t delayed from the TV broadcast

While traditional sports streaming has seen slower adoption, younger consumers across the globe(ages 18-25) are looking to fill the void of competition through video game viewing:

  • They watch more sports (2 hours, 36 minutes weekly) compared to other age groups
  • However, they spend more time watching other people play video games (3 hours, 24 minutes weekly) than traditional sports

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