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Will Football Streaming Call An Audible on Cable and Satellite TV?

Cable and Satellite services have invested heavily in NFL add-on packages to allow viewers access to non-local games. But with Amazon and DirectTV locking up Thursday night games and other digital platforms offering alternatives for Sunday and Monday, has streaming finally started an incursion onto one of the last remaining traditional TV bastions? In today’s Insight Flash, we examine football’s impact in previous seasons on satellite and streaming subscriptions, looking at the timing of new customer adds, retention post-sports season, and specific package enhancements. Stay tuned to Consumer Edge data to see who will lead the field in this year’s viewership playoffs!

Football season has been an important source of new customer acquisition for several services. September has seen an uptick in the percentage of new customers for sports-focused FuboTV and YouTubeTV specifically. And although Peacock’s 2020 launch makes last year’s data difficult to interpret, a spike in subscribers ahead of the 2022 Super Bowl in February may be a precursor to a similar influx of new streamers this month.  

New Customers

Note:  New defined by first purchase in panel data history; Peacock data displayed for limited time period to avoid bias from 2020 launch

Among the various platforms offering live NFL access, DirectTV seems to be the most subject to seasonal subs. Among those who first subscribed in football season of September 2019, DISH Network has maintained the highest overall retention with half of subscribers still paying for service 35 months later. DirectTV loyalty most of the year is below both YouTubeTV and Paramount+, but repeat purchasers show a notable return pattern during football season. Football season 2020 showed a delta of about 10% of DirectTV subscribers coming back just for the period of the games, and Football season 2021 showed about 5% of subscribers coming back.

Repeat Subscriptions

Note:  Subscriptions not on monthly billing will not show up as repeat payment

Even within a single provider, football season can be a source of package upgrades and add-ons. For DirectTV, there is a clear pattern of seasonal upgrades to packages that include Sunday Ticket. The percentage of subscribers buying $70-90 packages shows a delta of 3-5% during football season, normalizing soon after. The quick pullback at this price point once games are on hiatus indicates that such increases are shifts in consumer behavior rather than just natural fluctuations based on carrier pricing.

Ticket Buckets