Game Over: The Impact of Cable Providers Cutting Sports

The price of cable services continue to skyrocket despite bundles, deals, and promotions. In order to combat the steadily-rising  costs of cable TV, many customers are turning their backs on traditional cable providers and switching to more affordable measures. Services like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime video are available for streaming on almost any virtual device for a low, flat rate. Products like the Roku Box even allow you to direct all of your streaming accounts right onto your television. However, there is one obvious drawback for cutting the cable cord completely. Cable seems to be the only consistent way for sports fan to watch their favorite teams live.

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Not a Fan

One of the reasons for the rising costs of cable subscriptions is the increasing price cable companies pay to offer sports networks. Over the past 10 years, these prices have risen above 110%. While many consumers may enjoy watching sports as part of their cable package, there are also many people who continuously click past their ESPN channels. According to The Wall Street Journal, sports channels such as ESPN and regional sports networks account for about 19.5% of the fees paid by cable operators but are only watched by 4% of households on average (not including NFL games).

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With many cable customers cancelling their subscriptions due to cost, cable companies are doing whatever they can to try and reduce prices. In an effort to reduce the price of a monthly cable bill, cable companies are contemplating removing the sports channels from their basic cable packages and offering them a la carte. This will effectively lower the overall price of cable for customers who choose not to subscribe to the sports channels. Sports fans will still have the option to subscribe to live sports, but will be doing so by ordering various sports channels at a higher price. This may not bode well for sports fans because the cheapest cable plans will most likely no longer consist of sports channels. This means fans will need to upgrade to a higher-tier plan and pay more money to get the sports channels they want.

Sports Fans Are Weighing Their Loyalties

Sports fans may find themselves deciding between paying too much for cable to gain access to their favorite sports channels and cutting off cable access completely to avoid the rising costs. There are a few ways to gain access to live sports for consumers who wish to cut off their cable TV access completely. It may not be as easy or convenient as cable, but it is definitely a cheaper alternative. Through the use of an over-the-air antenna sports fans can gain access to basic channels such as ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. The majority of professional sports games are broadcasted on these stations and they are completely free through the use of an antenna. Many sports leagues also offer free and paid streaming packages where fans can stream directly from the league onto their computers or mobile devices.

The Big Impact

One of the biggest impacts of cable companies cutting sports channels is the growing movement for a universally a la carte channel selection. Could this be the answer consumers are looking for? People may be paying for sports channels they are not watching, however many consumers are also paying for cooking channels that go unwatched, home decorating channels that get completely skipped, and other types of shows they have no interest in. A futuristic channel model may have consumers picking and choosing which channels they would like as part of their package for a set price. This would be ideal for viewers who only watch a select number of channels and don’t want to be bothered with the rest. Overall, this has the potential for giving consumers what they want for the prices they’re willing to pay.

This is a guest post was contributed by Mark Reynolds. Mark is a copywriter for Connect Your Home, an authorized retailer of home services including cable, internet, home phone services, and much more.

About Aaron Garcia

Aaron is an avid sports fan who passionately follows the NFL, NBA and MLB, in addition to NCAA Sports. He is an Arizona State University grad who loves the Dodgers and the Patriots.