Survey: Fans Willing to Pay Up to $50/Month to Stream Live Sports

Cable TV seems to be on its way out, with the number of cable customers in the U.S. dropping by nearly 50% just since 2017, according to sources. And according to the Sports Business Journal, sports networks owned by leagues have seen a smaller dip in their subscriber rates. One thing’s for sure: sports fans are more likely to hang on to traditional cable to watch games live…but what if they could affordably stream them?

With more streaming networks available for TV shows and movies now than ever before, we wanted to know: how likely are sports fans to subscribe to sports-only streaming packages, and what are they willing to pay for the service? We surveyed 2,000 Americans to find out, and the results suggest that dedicated sports streaming could very well be the future of live sports.

Key Takeaways

  • Most sports fans—57%—would pay for a sports-only streaming service without any new features.
  • Fans are willing to pay an average of $32 per month for dedicated access to sports streaming, or $27 monthly for access solely to their favorite team’s games.
  • NFL fans make up the most underserved sports streaming market, with 81% of viewers reporting interest in a standalone streaming service.
  • NBA fans are willing to pay the most for sports streaming—an average of $50 per month.

More than Half of All Sports Fans Would Subscribe to a Sports Streaming Service

Of the 2,000 people we surveyed, 57% say they would pay a monthly subscription fee for a sports-only streaming service; no need for the Hulu and Disney+ package deals, it seems.

And even more sports fans in America—64%—would subscribe to a service that only streamed events for their favorite team.

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NBA fans are the most keen on a sports-only streaming service, with just over two-thirds—67%—of basketball fans showing interest in one. That’s followed closely by MLB fans, with 66% saying they’d love a dedicated sports option.

About half of all football, hockey, and soccer fans report that they want unpackaged sports streaming.

And there are options out there for sports-only streaming, but most don’t include regional sports networks (RSNs), which carry “in-market” or local games. DirecTV and FuboTV offer some national coverage from larger networks, and you can access RSN games, too, but the packages cost between $75 and $100, which, as you’ll soon see, is more than double what most sports fans are willing to pay.

Fox, ESPN, and Warner Bros. Discovery will be coming out with a dedicated sports streaming option this year, as well, but again, they won’t cover local games, and a lot of the games broadcast to the entire country won’t be included either, like NBC’s Sunday Night Football, two golf majors, the Olympics, the Super Bowl, and more. The monthly subscription cost has yet to be announced, but it’s suspected to, once again, be higher than most fans are willing to pay.

Speaking of which…

Sports Fans Care Most about the Affordability of a Streaming Platform

Just under half—45%—of sports fans in the U.S. say that the cost of a standalone sports streaming service is the most important factor when deciding if they’d subscribe to one. Surprisingly, the availability of their preferred games was the second most crucial factor, with 27% saying that’s what matters most.

And there’s good news for any network that starts providing sports-only streaming: fans care the least about expensive behind-the-scenes content and exclusives: only 3% of our survey respondents said they care most about it, so just providing access to the games without a cable-like bundle is sufficient.

What’s more, less than 10% say streaming quality is most essential. So, sports networks and leagues, listen up: you have a willing audience that can get over just having access to general sports coverage and some tech issues here and there. Time to pull the trigger?

$50/Month: What Sports Fans Are Willing to Pay for a Dedicated Streaming Service

The average price most sports fans are willing to pay monthly for a sports-only streaming package is around $30, but basketball fans say they’d pay up to $50 per month. The total varies based on the preferred league:

  • NBA fans: $50 per month
  • NFL fans: $43 per month
  • MLB fans: $28 per month
  • NHL fans: $25 per month
  • MLS fans: $15 per month
  • Average: $32 per month

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Surprisingly, sports fans would pay almost as much—$27 per month—for a streaming service that only included games that their favorite teams took part in, and 64% say they’d probably opt in.

Fans seem to care most about regular season games, too, meaning they’re more interested in a season-long subscription rather than tuning in once for a single game.

Just as an example, 57% of sports fans would pay monthly to watch regular season football games, but just 31% would be interested in a pay-per-view model for the Super Bowl. A PPV option might be more of a cash cow, though, as fans are willing to pay almost half—$12—for the single game of what they’d pay per month for season-long streaming.

The Future of Sports Streaming

Some executive somewhere has undoubtedly done a cost analysis and determined that a sports-specific streaming service isn’t as valuable as package deals with non-sports networks. But…what if sports streaming had more to bring to the table?

Almost three-quarters—74%—of sports fanatics say that streaming would be more valuable with fewer ads than they get with their standard service. And 59% state that the ability to pause, rewind, and replay live events would make the service more worth their while.

Bringing sports streaming into the 21st century would also help, as viewers confirm that player metrics and analytics, integrated sports betting, and access to VR viewing and multiple camera angles would pique their interest—27%, 19%, 16%, and 38%, respectively, say they’d value a streaming service more if these options were available.

As it stands now, just under half—49%—of viewers say that streaming services are about as enjoyable as standard programming, and only 40% prefer to stream live events. With some added features and integrations, the willingness to pay for sports-only services could very well skyrocket.

Is Sports-Only Streaming in the Cards?

A lot of sports streaming options are bundled with other streaming programs, and those that aren’t either cost far more than most are willing to pay or only include out-of-market games; that’s not ideal for most sports fanatics.

In reality, though, most people—57%—who watch sports say they’d happily pay for an affordable sports-only streaming service, and even more—64%—would subscribe with an average monthly fee of around $27 for a service that only streamed games that included their favorite teams.

Add highly-desired features, like fewer ads, integrated sports betting, and the ability to pause and rewind, and a streaming service could become the future of watching sports from home.


We surveyed 2,000 American sports fans in February 2024 about their favorite leagues and teams and asked about their interest in a sports-only streaming service. We asked what they’d like to see most in such an offering, and what they’d be willing to pay for access. Most of our respondents were male, accounting for 61% of all participants, 38% were female, and 1% identified as non-binary.

Additional Sources:
Techdirt: 46% Of U.S. Households Subscribe to Traditional Cable TV
Sports Business Journal: Subscriber Cuts in 2023

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