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Streaming woes: Sports fans struggle to catch their favourite games online

Streaming woes: Sports fans struggle to catch their favourite games online

Sports fans who have cut the cord and switched to streaming services are finding it hard to watch their favourite teams and games online. The streaming landscape is becoming more fragmented and confusing, with different platforms offering different content and prices. Some fans are also frustrated by regional blackouts that prevent them from accessing certain games.

Streaming was supposed to be cheaper and easier

Many sports fans decided to ditch their cable subscriptions and opt for streaming services, hoping to save money and enjoy more flexibility. However, they soon realized that streaming was not as simple or affordable as they expected. According to a new global report, almost 60 per cent of sports fans say that they find it difficult either to find or to afford what they want to watch.

One of the main challenges is that streaming services often have exclusive rights to certain sports or leagues, which means that fans have to subscribe to multiple platforms to access all the content they want. For example, in Canada, hockey fans who want to watch all the games of their local teams have to subscribe to both Sportsnet and TSN, which together carry all the regional broadcasts. However, some games are also blacked out from viewers in other markets, which means that fans who live outside their team’s region have to find other ways to watch them.

Streaming quality and reliability are also issues

Another problem that sports fans face with streaming is the quality and reliability of the service. Some fans have complained about poor picture quality, buffering, lagging, or glitches that affect their viewing experience. For example, Ryan Kelly, a Toronto Maple Leafs fan, said that he was disappointed by the Sportsnet app, which he bought to watch the playoffs last year. He said that the app kept freezing and crashing, and that he missed some crucial moments of the games.

Streaming woes: Sports fans struggle to catch their favourite games online

Some fans have also encountered technical issues that prevented them from accessing the content they paid for. For example, in the United States, some subscribers of ESPN+, a streaming service that carries a lot of soccer and hockey content, reported that they were unable to log in or watch the games they wanted. ESPN+ blamed the problems on a “third-party platform issue” and apologized to the customers.

Streaming options are increasing, but so is the confusion

The streaming market is becoming more crowded and competitive, as new players enter the field and vie for the attention and wallets of sports fans. Some of these new entrants are offering more niche or specialized content, such as DAZN, which focuses on boxing and combat sports, or Paramount+, which carries a lot of soccer and rugby. Some are also experimenting with new features or formats, such as interactive or personalized streams, or pay-per-view or micro-payment models.

However, more options do not necessarily mean more satisfaction for sports fans. Some fans are overwhelmed by the number of choices and platforms, and find it hard to keep track of what is available and where. Some fans are also reluctant to commit to long-term subscriptions or contracts, and prefer to switch between services depending on the season or the event. Some fans are also looking for more flexibility and convenience, and want to watch their favourite sports on any device, at any time, and from any location.

Streaming is the future, but it needs to improve

Streaming is undoubtedly the future of sports consumption, as more and more fans are moving away from traditional cable and satellite TV. Streaming offers many benefits and opportunities for sports fans, such as more content, more control, more interactivity, and more innovation. However, streaming also poses many challenges and frustrations for sports fans, such as more costs, more complexity, more restrictions, and more uncertainty. Streaming services need to improve their quality, reliability, accessibility, and affordability, if they want to retain and attract sports fans in the long run.

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