Over the last years, ESPN’s business model has changed, both from a digital and broadcast perspective. The multinational cable sports channel is putting a bigger focus on its additional paid service, ESPN+, as the number of sports fans who chose live streaming instead of other media platforms continues to rise.
According to data presented by SafeBettingSites.com, the number of ESPN+ subscribers hit 13.8 million as of April, a massive 75% increase year-over-year.
The Number of Subscribers Doubled Amid the Pandemic
Not meant as a replacement for the cable channel, the ESPN+ has become essential for sports fans who don’t have the cable channel to access ESPN’s content and coverage. It has also grown into a necessary service for sports fanatics, searching for exclusive access to specific sports coverage, special analysis, events, shows, and much more.
In the first quarter of the fiscal year 2019, ESPN+ had around 1.4 million subscribers, revealed the Walt Disney Company’s financial results. Over the next twelve months, this figure jumped by 370% to 6.6 million. However, statistics show the number of subscribers surged after the pandemic struck, as more and more sports fans started choosing live sports streaming over other media platforms. Since January 2020, the number of ESPN+ subscribers more than doubled, rising from 6.6 million to 13.8 million.
Almost 40% of Sports Fans Choose Live Streaming Content, China Leads in Global Comparison
The global YouGov survey conducted in January 2021, revealed some interesting facts about the platforms and media channels sports fans choose to watch sports content. Although live TV still represents the global number-one choice for watching sports, almost 40% of sports fans prefer live streaming content. Statistics show that sports fans aged between 18 and 24 lead in watching live sports streaming, with 47% of them using these services. Millennials, aged between 25 and 34, ranked second with 45% of respondents who stated they do the same.
The social media platforms ranked as the third-most-popular choice for watching sports content, with a 34% share among respondents. Online content, mobile apps, and newspapers followed with 25%, 24%, and 19% share, respectively. Only 8% of all respondents followed sports via magazines.
The survey also showed China represents the leading market for live sports streaming, with 54% of respondents who use online streams to follow the sport. Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates follow with 50%, 49%, and 42% share, respectively.
The United States, France, and Japan were on the other side of the list with a 17%, 16%, and 13% share, respectively.