1.3 million viewers tuned in to the Super Bowl online, streaming the big game, and accounting for about 1% of all viewers. While it might not seem like much, it’s a new record, and evidence that streaming is growing relative to traditional TV. It’s true that streaming remains sort of a plan B for Super Bowl viewers; those who can watch via cable generally do. But even as a backup plan, it’s extremely signficiant, as it makes it possible to watch in new ways and from new places. That’s how TV should be, and it isn’t limited to just the Super Bowl. The big game is just one example of how the entire TV experience is changing.
Live sports are seen by many as a sort of final frontier for streaming video. Rights to sporting events cost big bucks, and for that reason have been used to push our sports-obsessed nation into pricey cable TV packages. The most expensive channel on cable is sports-centric ESPN, which costs as much as the next 5 most expensive channels combined. With such a sweet deal, it’s no wonder that one of the most sought after networks has been so reluctant to break out of the cable bundle, as competitors begin to do so.