The Future of Sports and Cordcutting: SXSW Panel

By Kyle Spencer
Sports Director

As consumers, we live in a time of abundance. There are becoming more and more ways to indulge in the things we like, including the way we watch sports. This past year, the NFL streamed games through twitter. The NCAA tournament has an app that allows you to enjoy every game. Even on a smaller level, Texas State has been streaming the men’s basketball post-season run on Facebook live.

All of these advancements come to one question. Why would we watch sports on cable? Many people have answered that question by “cutting the cord” and going to strictly streaming. Although cord-cutting is more commonly used for people who drop cable to use Hulu, Netflix, or other video streaming services, the options for watching live games is becoming larger.

The problem is sports hold a lot of value, and cable companies are reluctant to give up their slice of the pie. That has led to the rise of companies like Monumental Sports. Monumental Sports provides digital coverage of sports teams in the greater Washington D.C. area through the Monumental Sports Network. Including the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics. Vice President and General Manager of the Monumental Sports Network, Zach Leonsis, has been on the forefront of offering subscription based streaming of live games.

The advantage of subscription based viewing is that it allows the consumer to pick and choose what they want to see. Unlike cable companies where you may have to purchase a bundle and pay more for channels you don’t want. “I think that we would make the argument that we should redefine the bundle,” Leonsis said at the SXSW panel. Arguing that consumers need more power when selecting what they want, and don’t want to watch.

So how far are we from cutting cable out completely? Rob Simmelkajer of NBC Sports Comcast and Ventures argued that, “We are going to do direct to consumer, but we dip our toe it’s not anything more than just our toe. It’s a function of transition and experimenting.” This means that networks like NBC are willing to look into the future of streaming, but he predicts they will never fully submerge.

Featured image by Kyle Spencer.

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