The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Streamers willing to pay to watch Olympics, report claims

But, be warned: Most want a centralized hub for their sports and other streaming content, and are willing to pirate content if that option isn't available.

But, be warned: Most want a centralized hub for their sports and other streaming content, and are willing to pirate content if that option isn't available.

The rings of the Olympic Games on display in London. (Photo by Ivan Bandura via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)
The rings of the Olympic Games on display in London. (Photo by Ivan Bandura via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

More than one-quarter of American streamers will sign up for a new TV service to watch some or all of the 2024 Summer Olympic Games from Paris, according to a new research study from technology firm Bango.

The study, called “Going For Gold,” found 29 percent of subscription-paying households were willing to take on a streaming service in order to watch the games, a figure that jumps to 66 percent of customers who already pay for a sports-focused video, on-demand service.

Bango proffers that the report could be good news for services like Comcast’s Peacock, which is expected to offer the lion’s share of Olympic Games coverage in the United States this year. It also highlights the importance live sports plays in emerging streaming services, particularly those focused on live events and relevant video on-demand programming.

The average sports fan is willing to shell out around $120 per month — or around $1,440 annually — for access to live events over streaming. By comparison, the average U.S. subscriber pays around $77 per month, or 66 percent less, for their subscription entertainment needs, according to Bango.

The Bango report collected data points from 2,000 sports-focused streaming subscribers and 3,000 general subscribers. More than half of subscribers surveyed said they can’t afford all the subscriptions they want, while 73 percent say there are too many options on the marketplace.

Eighty-seven percent of sports streaming subscribers surveyed by Bango said they want a centralized “content hub” for all of their sports and other subscriptions. Without that all-in-one solution, more than half of sports fans surveyed — around 55 percent — admit to using a pirate service to watch live sports, simply to get access to all content in a single place.

When half of all sports fans admit to online piracy, you know something’s gone wrong,” Paul Larbey, the CEO of Bango, said in a statement on Tuesday. “Clearly, there’s a huge demand for sports streaming, but the current lack of centralization is undermining this incredibly valuable market.”

The lack of a content hub is not the only issue: Cost is a factor, too, with 37 percent of streamers admitting they regularly pause, cancel and re-subscribe to different services in order to keep things affordable. Password-sharing crackdowns are not helping those customers, as services increasingly look for ways to generate new revenue by booting freeloaders off their platforms.

Fragmentation is a problem, too, with Larbey saying content rights being split across networks and services is giving rise to competitors making deals with each other. He cited the recent agreement between Fox Corporation, the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery’s TNT Sports to launch a joint venture that aims to launch a streaming service that consists primarily of their sports-inclusive broadcast and cable networks. The service, internally called “Raptor” and affectionately nicknamed “Spulu” by some media and sports pundits, is tentatively scheduled to launch in August.

The combined effort by ESPN, Fox, and WBD to build a single sports streaming platform is just one example, but we predict other collaborations will continue to define this space,” Larbey said.

Wireless providers and other telecommunications firms could help facilitate that collaboration. According to Bango’s survey, 70 percent of sports streaming subscribers “want their cell phone provider to offer an all-in-one subscription platform.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, Bango markets a software-as-a-service product called the Digital Vending Machine that helps facilitate those arrangements; it partially powers streaming marketplaces like Verizon’s Plus-Play and Optus SubHub, among others.

Bango’s technology allows telecommunications firms like wireless carriers to offer subscriptions to third-party services, including streaming products. They can also launch bundles of streaming and non-streaming products sold via third parties. These so-called “Super Bundles” help telecoms offer value-added incentives on top of talk, text and data plans. They also help increase customer satisfaction and lower subscriber churn, Bango says.

In an interview with The Desk earlier this year, Bango’s Vice President of Marketing Giles Tongue said the company aims to “manage half a billion subscriptions” around the world, and is interested in working with different subscription providers to link them to other service providers. By facilitating those link-ups through the Digital Vending Machine and other products, Tongue says Bango can help companies scale up their services in a more-accelerated fashion than if they went at things alone.

Tongue spoke at length about how Verizon is using Bango’s Digital Vending Machine to do this — by linking wireless customers to third-party services like Netflix, while also offering unique bundles like access to ad-supported Netflix-Max and ad-free Netflix-AMC Plus, along with non-streaming subscriptions to products like the Washington Post and The Athletic.

Larbey also mentioned Verizon’s push into offering subscription-based streaming perks for its customers, and said the approach “puts the subscriber first, creating the opportunity for people to mix and match.”

“That’s good news for sports fans and will bring more paid subscribers to the sports broadcasting industry as a whole,” Larbey proclaimed.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Streaming » Streamers willing to pay to watch Olympics, report claims