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Could Sports Reap Rewards from a Fresh Streaming Partnership?

In response to the ongoing media disruption reshaping the industry, a consortium of leading sports streaming giants has come together to establish a lobbying unit. Comprising 17 prominent entities, including Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery's Max, NBCUniversal's Peacock, Paramount+, and Netflix, this alliance holds live streaming rights for an array of major sports leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA, Premier League, and PGA Tour, as well as a significant presence in sports documentary content. Their collective effort is named the Streaming Innovation Alliance.

The primary objective of this coalition is to present a unified front when advocating for regulatory frameworks that are more favourable to streaming platforms before governmental bodies. While the initiative itself isn't exclusive to sports, the impact on sports programming is expected to be substantial, given its unparalleled capacity to aggregate large audiences. Notably, Max has recently outlined its strategy to centralise sports content within its service.

The alliance has articulated its stance, asserting that video streaming services operate differently from traditional broadcast entities by not utilising public rights of way, airwaves, or spectrum. Consequently, they argue that these platforms should be subject to innovative and customised regulatory approaches rather than traditional ones.

The formation of this group coincides with a momentous shift in U.S. media consumption patterns. In July, for the first time, American viewership of broadcast and linear pay television dropped below 50% of total TV consumption, highlighting the growing prominence of streaming services.

What sets this alliance apart is its departure from the customary competitive dynamics in which these streaming giants vie for live sports rights, subscribers, and market dominance.

It's worth noting that some major players in the sports streaming landscape, including Apple, Amazon, Google's YouTube, and Roku, have not joined this coalition. These companies collectively stream high-profile properties such as the NFL's "Thursday Night Football," MLB, and MLS, and continue to actively seek additional live sports rights.


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