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Streaming and Subscription Services Grab Majority of NFL Viewers

by Brian Colling - September 12, 2019

Streaming and Subscription Services Grab Majority of NFL Viewers

The Colling Media market research team has conducted a national Snapshot Study to understand and evaluate the evolving adoption of streaming video services. This month’s research focuses on how consumers consumed the National Football League (NFL) during the opening week of the 2019 season.

Here are the key findings of the national survey of adults in the U.S.

For NFL fans, the migration away from traditional cable and satellite television continues at a brisk pace. Among survey respondents who watched a game during the NFL’s opening week, 58% said they watched at least one game via paid streaming services and apps.

The current leader of the streaming or subscription services is the NFL’s Sunday Ticket service, which boasts 20% penetration.  The leaderboard is crowded, however. Services with strong showings are Amazon Prime and Hulu with Live TV (both at 18%), Sling TV (15%), and NFL Game Pass (13%). Nearly a quarter of those viewing on streaming services and apps (23%) utilized smaller services such as the NBC Sports app, Chromecast, and other services using virtual private networks (VPN).

In one of the study’s most interesting findings, 26% of respondents watched NFL games on at least two streaming services or apps.  Because all games aren’t available on one service, consumers are picking and choosing what games they watch and, therefore, jumping between services/apps for access. Some consumers are utilizing as many as four different services. One respondent watched games on PlayStation Vue, FuboTV, CBS All Access, and Amazon Prime, all in the first week of the NFL’s young season.


Consumers have more options than ever when it comes to consuming entertainment, and this is especially true for sports and NFL live content. While consumers are embracing alternative ways of watching NFL games live, the challenge for advertisers is reaching this audience scattered across multiple screens and services/subscriptions. Consumption of live NFL games remains high. How fans watch NFL games is fragmenting, underscoring why brands should be incorporating over-the-top (OTT) programmatic advertising into the marketing mix.

Colling Media helps companies market products and services using OTT programmatic advertising. Contact us today.

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