SBJ: Are the declines in sports viewership the beginning of a bigger competitive threat, or a short-term problem?
It’s only a short-term problem if we believe the drawn-out election campaign and the Summer Olympics upended typical viewing patterns. And while it’s true that live sports consistently draw the biggest audiences, we indeed have a bigger problem. Our industry was built to serve a different master, and our age is showing. Millennials have changed the game, and the question is can we adapt?
Millennials view what they want, when they want. Even the concept of cord-cutting is from the wrong perspective, because it’s not theirs. Subscription streaming platforms are the go-to choices for content consumption, not television. If we can’t adapt to their needs and reflect their habits, we will have missed our chance to stem the declines.
Sports must experiment with new technologies and different methods of delivery. Working against us are traditional long-term deal structures and the need to monetize new initiatives immediately. If we learned anything from the recent election, it’s that the pollsters and the media forgot to listen to the voters. It’s our industry. If we are not listening to the fans, how can we get it right?