This past weekend, your intrepid blogger spent time housesitting in a cord-cutting household. The home was off the beaten path, out of the realm of cable TV service, and the owners did not want to shell out for DIRECTV or DISH Network. Instead, they simply went with high-speed internet and subscriptions to Netflix streaming, Hulu, and a few other services, along with a digital antenna to receive broadcast network TV such as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
While there was plenty to do at the house, including watching three rowdy dogs, there was also plenty of time to sit and watch television. Your TV, Internet and Phone blogger is a DIRECTV subscriber, due to NFL Sunday Ticket, and a sports fanatic. On this particular evening, there were several things going on in the sports world that would have been of interest: NBA conference semifinal matchups, NHL Stanley Cup second round action, and the St. Louis Cardinals game on Fox Sports Midwest. What do all of these things have in common? They are on cable TV.
It’s fully understandable to want to cut costs. Subscriptions to Netflix and Hulu give you plenty of access and choice about your preferred programming, to watch whatever, whenever. If you’re not a sports fan, there really may be no reason to subscribe to cable TV or sign up for satellite TV anymore. But for this blogger, sports programming is the majority of what gets watched in a given day, week, month, year. NFL Sundays. Playoff hockey and basketball. The St. Louis Cardinals. The St. Louis Blues. March Madness. College football bowl games. Most, if not all, of this programming, is on channels like ESPN or Fox Sports 1, or regional sports networks. Not network television.
This is also why live sports rights are the most valuable asset in cable television today. Any other program, you can watch streaming or On Demand, or DVR and skip through the commercials. Only sports demand to be watched live. So, could I cut the cord? No. But if a few more channels offered standalone streaming programming, such as the ESPN family of networks, and the cost was right, I’d be right there.