2/3 of sports fans still rely on free-to-air tv, sport reach drops 68% when moved to pay tv

2/3 of sports fans still rely on free-to-air tv, sport reach drops 68% when moved to pay tv


I have always been a huge baseball fan. The only way I can watch my home area team is to buy an extended package through my cable provider, which costs another $45/month. That is straight up bullshit.


Absolute bullshit. Even with a MLB.tv subscription you can’t watch your own team (if you happen to live near your favorite team, crazy right?). I swear few sports leagues seem to hate their fans as much as Major League Baseball.


Yep, local blackouts. And MLB is especially egregious with blackout policies. In Iowa, 6 teams are blacked out: Cubs, White Sox, Royals, Cardinals, Twins, Brewers. There is no way a cable subscriber in Iowa gets all 6 of those regional sports channels. In Buffalo I was blacked out of Pirates. I paid for Spectrum cable, all I got were Mets and Yankees. Thankfully the Pirates haven't been worth watching...


And people wonder why the Yankees and Braves are two of the more popular teams in Iowa.


Well Braves still might have a lingering effect of TBS broadcasts in the 80s and 90s. WGN did a similar thing for the Cubs.


True at least for the Cubs they are a "local team" but the fact that Yankees/Braves are fighting for 3rd is bad compared to football where the top 4 are easily local teams.


I think all 4 major sports in the US do the local blackouts


NFL no longer does that, and you can watch whatever game is being broadcast in your area on FOX or CBS over the air for free as long as you have one of those cheap antennas you can get for 15-25 bucks at a Walmart


The NFL hates their fans too. If you're out of market and don't subscribe to DirecTV, there's literally no way to watch your team at all. Legally of course. They'll let you pay for reruns that are available the next day though. Insulting.


If I wanted to be into a hobby where the corporation hates its fans, I'd play Warhammer.


I'm blacked out from 3 different Basketball teams because I live "near" them. They range from 100 to 300 miles away.


Have you tried living on another continent? -MLB


Or a VPN.


I hate that. Some fan hundreds of miles away can watch your team but you can't. It's frustrating that fans in Denmark can watch Brighton game this weekend but a fan that lives locally will have to pay an arm and a leg to watch and if they don't live locally then they'd have to spend time and money on top of that


Red Sox fan here. The only way I can watch is through cable. I have YouTube TV and they even block it when you purchase MLB Tv. It’s fucked.


I remember a glorious period during my childhood when most Red Sox games were broadcast free OTA by Fox 25.


WPXT51, baby.


Channel 38


Three Stooges Marathons, Red Sox and Bruins. What’s not to love!


Isn't a Stooges marathon and a Red Sox game game the same thing?


Fucking NESN.


Same here, Red Sox and YouTube tv. Worse, the Pats pre-season game was “blocked” in my area on YouTube tv! Wtf! I love YouTube tv, but time to reevaluate…


Yeah they ruined YTTV. I will cut it as soon as I get around to it. its garbage. too many useless channels now. cost has gone up and i get less of what i want.


My wife and I cut the cable and subscribed to Fubo. It works pretty well and is about $60/month. It has NESN and most other sports channels.


That’s where it breaks down for me. Not willing to subscribe to a large bunch of channels when all I want is one. I cut cable for that reason. Miss the sports less and less each year.


Yes and that’s why my child doesn’t follow certain sports like I did growing up.


Fuck Sinclair, I lost nearly all my Cardinals games this season, now that they've removed Bally from YouTube TV. Greedy-ass shitty company.


i stopped watching baseball for the most part as a result. i cut cable, and 'baseball' wasn't enough to keep me. MLB.tv is $100/year, but only out of market games. i'll listen to the radio, and watch the post season when its OTA. my interest declines with each passing year as a result.


You can always sign up for MLB.tv to watch online...wait you can't cause local market games are ALWAYS blacked out! More bullshit to the pile.


I can’t bring myself to do it. I can’t stand buying cable plus that package to see the Dodgers everyday. If they offered a flat $45 per month streaming package for dodger games alone I’d consider it but they are clearly using it to get people to buy into 200 useless channels.


tell me about it. I had Playstation vue because it had YES. well psvue shut down so I moved to youtubeTV. YES was removed a year later. nba league pass and mlb is blacked out. I will gladly pay fios or comcast for a sports only package that I can stream on a roku or online. I just don't want a $150 package with box rentals and other crap. why can't providers do that? just give me a sports package for $20 a month.


I grew up in Arizona, in a suburb of Phoenix, and I hate the Cardinals. Why? Could never watch a game growing up. Team made it so it was a local blackout unless there was a sell out at the stadium...which never sold out. \[EDIT: As others have educated me, this was an NFL rule, not a team rule\] If you lived in Phoenix, you couldn't watch the game unless you bought a ticket. And very few networks at the time wanted to broadcast the Cardinals, because they sucked, so the chances of watching them on away games was limited. I understand part of the reasoning, wanting to get the ticket revenue, but without showing many of their games on TV, interest was not driven, meaning no one wants to go to the game.


>Team made it so it was a local blackout unless there was a sell out at the stadium This was (until 2015) an NFL rule, not a rule the team itself made.


Ah, I didn't know that. Still, rest of the point stands. Local fans get hosed, especially when the team sucks and no one goes to the game.


Oh I complete agree, the rule sucks and is counter-productive. Thankfully the owners finally realized it.


As a Buccaneers fan, I get your frustration. We had a couple seasons where this happened and it was super frustrating. However, I do want to caveat that this is an NFL rule and not specific to the Cardinals.


Uk football is 30 pounds month sky plus 20 for bt sports …


Same here. Used to go to about 15 games a year. After they stopped showing the majority of games over the air my interest just went away. Took about three years to stop following completely. Probably been eight years now since I've gone to game.


I am in Iowa: Kansas City, Twin Cities, Chicago(2x), Milwaukee, and St. Louis are blacked out. 20% of the league unwatchable.


MLB’s blackout policy is the worst.


Sportsurge.net has worked pretty well for me. It’s not great, but it doesn’t break the bank!


Let me introduce you to google and “free mlb streams”


Reddit MLB streams, takes you to a website and boom, game is on.


I do it for football. I live out of my team's market. If the NFL gave me an easy, reasonably priced way to watch I would take it. Until then? Yarr...




Same. One year, I paid the $65/mo for cable just so I could watch my home team. Now I just listen to them on the radio like the old person I am.


Same for me for Basketball. I don't normally have cable. It costs ~200 a month to have cable with the package I need to watch my team.


With the ability to have multiple digital channels on a single broadcast channel I'm surprised no MLB teams have returned to broadcast tv in local markets


No broadcast station will pay the team as much as an RSN will because the RSN can collect from the cable companies that pass the fees on to all their subscribers whether or not the subscriber watches the RSN. The broadcast station has to rely on a lower carriage fee and advertising.


The pendulum will eventually swing back. Advertisers will demand lower rates because lower viewership leading to the carriers dropping the RSN.


They’re fine with the drop in viewers because companies pay a shit load to broadcast on those channels. I’m presuming they get paid enough to offset the loss in audience or they wouldn’t do it


The issue is long term, because paid channels present a barrier to new fans. If you don't watch sports in bars or at home when you're a kid you're not going to just suddenly shell out a lot of money to watch a sport you have no connection to.


This is how HBO killed Boxing. The barrier to entry was too high so a whole generation grew up not familiar with the sport and not connected to it at all. UFC came to SpikeTV which was on most basic cable packages. It gained a lot of ground when Boxing started to get a reputation as a rich mans sport and UFC took the title of an every joe fighting sport. Plenty of fighters, plenty of events. Boxing got the reputation of 20 guys all who weren’t great at fighting.


How do they compare to WWE?


WWE is a vastly different business model. They are on over the air and only the premium events cost money to watch. You can still enjoy 90% of the events without shelling out a dime. John Oliver did a piece on them and how much they are worth. Edit: since source couldn’t be found


Citation needed for them being worth more than the NFL, because I find that extremely hard to believe.


The NFL is just the combination of 32 individual franchises. The Cowboys alone are worth over 5 billion.




They don't care. By that point, those in charge will have have pocketed their billions and are quite happy to leave the entire industry in ruins and retire to their mansions.


The NBA has this problem now that they've spent the last 20 years moving from OTA stations to cable only. They've trained the entire current 18-49 demographic how to follow the league without watching games. They might be able to get one more tv deal out of the current environment but eventually it'll have to change or come crumbling down.


This happened with cricket in the England. It used to be on free TV back in the 2000's, culminating in the incredible 2005 Ashes series that everyone watched. Sometime after that Sky bought out the rights and locked them behind pay tv, and viewing figures have sunk since, and so has interest in cricket. Now the governing bodies of the sport are trying to find ways to get kids back interested, as the kids who have grown up since its been on payed tv mostly aren't interested.


Basically killing their own cultural hegenomy for short term profits. Classic.


Exactly. And advertisers aren’t going to like it once they see the reduction in reach. Money now that devalues the brand later.


Out of sight, out of mind. People that can't watch will become disinterested. By the time it comes back to regular TV they might not even take the time out to watch it leaving ratings in the gutter.


Def. the only thing I watch on broadcast/cable tv is NFL and college basketball. I can barely stand the commercials for it. Once you give it up (cable tv for instance, or even Netflix etc) it’s really easy to forget about it and fill your life with other things.


I think that's a big part of it, it's so easy to replace. I have Netflix and HBO, so it's a little disappointing if something I'm interested in is only available on Hulu or Disney+ but it's easy to get over it because I have more shows/movies in my queue than I will ever have time to finish. With sports it's even worse, because I've gotten so used to life without commercials that when I do watch live sports the constant downtime between commercial breaks and other filler is unbearable. These days I'll just watch some highlights and maybe read a recap the next day and be pretty satisfied with that.


Watch soccer. There are ads everywhere on the stadium but they never stop the game to play a commercial.


This couldn't be truer. I have become almost completely disinterested in Live Sports programming. I buy maybe 1/1000th of the sports merchandise I used to. I think I may have bought a hat sometime last year for my favorite team. Might've been the year before. I'm actually sitting on box tickets for a Rangers game, but since I don't watch them on TV I'm not even really interested in going to the live events. Now... I have been buying a LOT of off-road stuff. Because I can easily watch that content on YouTube and other sites. Can't wait for my second Bronco to get delivered... Ford Bronco, that is.


I've been seeing the smaller versions all over, haven't seen the big boy on the road yet. 2 of my friends are waiting for theirs to get delivered, they signed up for the experience package thing where you take delivery at an off road course and get to take it off road right away Edit: even better, I talked to them today and they let you drive theirs off road and you get to take yours home nice and shiny lol


x2. watch 49ers on a HD antenna......and thats it. actually an occasional PBS antiques road show.


I can personally attest to this. Used to be a massive baseball and soccer fan. Would have nearly every Royals game on the TV every evening, and watch Arsenal and the Premier League every weekend. Cut the cable voted a few years ago. The first few months without cable I'd try and p2p stream when I could. That got pretty tedious quickly, and now I haven't watched a baseball game in 3 years, and a soccer match in two. Even have the ability to do so now with streaming services we're subscribed to, but I could care less about any of it now. Even the Euro this summer couldn't get me to tune back in.


After the Royals won the World Series in 2015, I kind of stopped paying attention to them. All the players I had watched grow and develop over the previous few years left, and the new team was a bunch of people I didn’t know.


This is basically exactly what's killed MLB.


On the reverse of that, you've also got a bunch of niche sports that basically survive on that basic cable TV revenue. They generally forego rights fees on broadcast as a marketing exercise.


Suck right. Greed. I don't think my kids will be into baseball.


Give them some credit. It might be pure stupidity too. I remember in college in the mid 2000s some cable company exec came and talked at my school. A classmate asked him about the falling subscriber numbers for millennials (it was starting then). He basically laughed in her face and said once people started careers and families that of course they would buy cable TV. Uh…about that. If you don’t form habits watching something, odds are you aren’t going to magically start enjoying something. Guarantee you at the NFL, NBA, etc there are execs that think kids will “grow out of” watching Twitch streamers play MOBAs and FPS, then these kids will suddenly start watching football or baseball.


There are probably more kids watching streamers play Madden NFL than actually watch the NFL.


At least for the NBA, they got China to keep viewership up


Between locking them out of watching the games on TV, making tickets too expensive for families to go to the game, and making it unaffordable for a lot of kids to grow up playing (seriously, they need a $400+ bat per season?), a lot of kids won't care. I live near Atlanta, and I'm not sure my daughter could even name our baseball team. She's been to a game and thought it was the most boring thing ever.


>She's been to a game and thought it was the most boring thing ever. I liked going to games as a kid but I think that's because I played baseball and liked the experience. I like going to games as an adult but now it's more for the social aspect than anything. What really gets me about the MLB in particular and why I can't get into it as a real fan, is just how inconsequential each win and loss seems when a season is 162 games long.


When I was younger and played baseball, and here in AZ we didn't have MLB team yet, so the minor league team, Roadrunners, was the best time. All or most of the kids in the audience had their gloves, and the team always stayed after the game to sign autographs. Some of the best baseball times.


Publicly funded sports teams moving exclusively to private channels. Great idea. Very cool.


I live 2 miles both from my city’s NBA and NFL stadiums. I still have to illegally stream most games. Make it make sense.


Ur taxes most likely paid for their stadiums too. It's a fucking racket.


In semi-related news, Locast, the non-profit that streams OTA broadcasts, shut down today after the big cable companies sued them for copyright infringement. I’m just out of range to get Indianapolis stations OTA without mounting an antenna on the roof. This kinda sucks.


Locast should be government funded. We are supposed to all have access to our local broadcast networks. Antennas haven't worked in the last 5 places I have lived.


No joke! I can't get signal for the stations IN TOWN! One issue is the location of towers. But it's insane


I'm so upset. It seemed like maybe they would hang on after changing their donation policy, but apparently not. Back to unreliable IPTV I guess.


I'm really sad about Locast shutting down. I live in a shitty apartment with shitty reception and it makes OTA TV unwatchable sometimes. I used Locast to watch the channels that didn't get a good enough signal due to interference. I hope they appeal the ruling and win, but it doesn't seem like they are trying.


It's the reason why the NFL remains the powerhouse in US sports. Every Sunday (or Monday/Thursday) you can see your home city's team. Here in Chicago I can catch the occasional Cubs game on ABC but the White Sox are strictly Cable, as are the Bulls and the Blackhawks. Last time I watched a Sox game live was on YouTube, part of MLB's Game of the Week or something. This ultimatum is a big reason I hope cable goes the way of radio, because the whole thing reeks of what Dollar Bill Wirtz did some decades earlier. Not as bad, but not far removed.


Man if only WGN had every Cubs and Hawks game still. Also one of the reasons the Cubs are so loved is because WGN broadcasted them nationally.


Yea, every time I wanted to watch the hawks, I’d end up at a bar, until I realized I didn’t need to be drinking 3+ beers on a Tuesday or multiple times a week for that matter.


As a Chicago area Cub fan it's actually worse than that. Since the Cubs moved to the Marquee network two years ago they pulled all their games off the local ABC broadcast (which was only a handful anyways). Unless I missed a few the only game they have had on ABC since is when ESPN broadcast Cubs/Sox on it a few weeks ago for Sunday night baseball. If you wanted to watch the Cubs over the last two seasons you'd have to buy a cable package that gets Marquee, which wasnt very many last time I looked


In the UK cricket did that, went from free channels to sky, and basically killed the ability for new viewers to engage with the sport. The Ashes used to be quite a popular watch before that.


And F1 along with more recently the Olympics. I'm not a huge fan of any of the Olympic events but I'll watch it if it's on, but there's no way I'm forking out to watch diving, athletics and the random collections of events that I would never even dream of watching. I really feel sorry for the kids who are into those sports and this is their one chance to see competition at the highest level. It sucks. F1 in the UK requires a sky subscription plus some add-on (and still served with and breaks). Sure the FIA will get a boatload of cash for the rights but long term you'll lose out on new viewers coming across the sport impacting interest in taking part in the sport. Sponsors will not be getting the same amount of value as viewership is reduced. It's not going to be sustainable long term and everyone suffers.


At least you have Channel 4 who provide a decent amount of highlights, while having a high quality show with interviews and full discussions. It's a very thorough highlight show, and for the British Grand Prix their full coverage was better than Sky's.


That's true. I mostly prefer Channel 4's coverage to Sky*, but nothing compares to live coverage. *with the exception of the 2021 Silverstone coverage where they spent 50% of the pre race coverage sucking off Tom Cruise and Top Gun 2.


The last Ashes before it went to Sky was England's first win in nearly 20 years too. It was huge that year and it would've been the perfect time to capitalise but they blew it.


Fucking, Duh. I remember back when Baseball and Hockey used to be free on the air. Not every game, but often enough that a casual fan could get a few games each week. But, no. All the local TV stations either folded or were bought out by WB back in the 90's.


In America the NFL is broadcast free over-the-air on NBC, Fox and CBS. There are other games on ESPN and NFL Network that require a paid subscription but the vast majority of games are free, provided you support your local team. You need to purchase the NFL package to watch out of market games.


You can watch certain out of market games over the air. Fox and CBS will typically play 2x out of market games every Sunday. Then you have the primetime out of market games on Sunday Night Football on NBC and Thursday night football on Fox and Amazon. In other words, with just an antenna you can get about 1/3 of the games every week.


This is the same as AFL and most other sports with a regular league in Australia


Heard rumblings about Union dying a slow death in Australia after they went behind the Foxtel paywall. Fewer and fewer people being exposed to the sport since it’s not in free to air isn’t good for the long term growth of said sport.


I mean just look at our recent world cup and Olympic performances.. Gold medal in Rio to what barely scraping into Tokyo qualification..


This is why I stopped watching NFL games. My team is on the opposite side of the country so they are almost never shown locally. I went to all streaming last year and I’m not going back. If the NFL had an online package where you paid like $75 per season to stream only all your favorite team’s games I would consider it. Now I don’t watch any games and quickly losing interest in the sport.




It can be streamed IF they determine you're eligible, which involves them determining you CAN'T get fucking DirecTV. That means you have to enter your address and prove you live in an apartment/townhouse/multiplex. It's absolutely ridiculous. DirecTV is a garbage product and they're trying to strong-arm NFL fans into getting it to keep it afloat. Luckily my sister is a student, so I was able to sign up under her student ID. It's that or illegal streams until the NFL cuts the cord with DirecTV. All because I live in a single family house.


I don’t watch sports. How much would it cost to watch your favorite team?


I can’t watch them right now unless I was to purchase the NFL package for several hundred dollars. But I would then have to get DirectTV I think since I think they are the only ones who still offer it.


Last I check NFL was around $300 for the season.


I wonder what percentage of people are regular watchers of non-local teams.


A good chunk of us I bet. Im a Seahawks fan living in FL. My local sports bar supports the Jets. While I consistently see Patriot and Packer fans every time I go. A lot of people move but still support the team they grew up with.


....Everyone who's remotely serious about fantasy football.


Here in Los Angeles it's the majority for sure but now that we have two local teams, it's hard to find a game that isn't Chargers or Rams.


I straight up refuse to pay for Sky Sports or BT Sports. I’d rather listen to some Saudi Arabian dude commentating and screaming down my ears




Related the broadcasters just killed Locast.


Turns Out the IRL equivalent of putting content behind a paywall results in fewer people watching it. Who would have guessed! Honestly Surprised no sports leagues have offered OTT streaming packages for just individual individual team games/content available on an a la carte basis yet. Think that's the closest thing to a realistic compromise here.


Would need new cable contracts, local blackouts are baked into those deals. I’d buy an NBA league pass to stream all the games but my local team (Milwaukee Bucks) I would not be able to watch a single game not on ABC because my local cable channel blocks it from subscribers in this market and last I checked League Pass blocks VPNs from their streaming platform. On the plus side, the commissioner of the NBA stressed years ago this was a problem and that the league would look to remove that (even at the cost of money) on the next TV deal which I think is 2023 iirc.


I used to be a Laker and Dodger fan. Then the TV deals changed and now I don't watch. Don't really miss it either.




English Premier League is even worse. You have to have three different streaming packages to watch all games, totaling close to $100 a month.


Some games aren't even on TV here making shit more anoying


And they wonder why their younger audience share is plummeting....


This right here. Trying to get into watching it this season and it's a nightmare.


I live in NY, and the MLB Free Game of the Day was Mets vs. Yankees. I went to go boot it up and...it was blacked out. HOW CAN THE FREE GAME OF THE DAY BE BLACKED OUT THAT SURE AS SHIT DOESN'T SOUND FREE TO ME So I pirated it for free. Whatever.


This is me, but streaming also has insane blackouts and for some reason MLB.tv is choppy when streaming to a Chromecast. So, I stopped watching baseball and just watch Jomboy.


When I lived in Iowa I was in 6 blackout zones. Cubs, White Sox, Royals, Cardinals, Twins, and Brewers. Sure wasn't easy to try and watch baseball. Des Moines even has the Cubs AAA affiliate.


Iowa gets fucked so hard by blackouts. I feel bad for you guys.


I can trace the moment my interest in baseball fell off a cliff to when I, as a college freshman at Iowa state with access to high speed internet for the first time, spent 120$ (a ton of money for me at the time) on the mlb online package only to find out that 6 teams were blacked out. I was supposed to have access to all games, but most days almost half the games were blacked out. To this day I still do not make an effort to watch baseball


Wow, that's fucked. You'd think one of those teams would try to poach Iowans as fans....especially after the game this year


Iowa's pretty much a Cubs state. Cards a close second.


Streaming sports isn't ever the best option from what I've seen. The compression is just too much and the clarity of the signal is lost. Heck, even compression of some of the feeds when watching cable can not be great sometimes. 1080p TV, 640p signal. Looks ok between plays, but when fast action happens, the details get lost.


Some of my fondest memories growing up were watching the Cubs on WGN and when that ended, I pretty much stopped watching. 1948 was the year that WGN started broadcasting Cubs games. It was the longest tv partnership in baseball. 72 seasons and it’s all over. Wonder what Harry would say if he were still here.


There was a time when, on basic 30-channel cable, I could get pretty much every game for THREE teams - the Cubs were on WGN, the Braves were on TBS, and the regional sports channel (Fox Sports Carolinas’ ancestor) carried all the Orioles games.


Even if you pay for MLB network your team can still get blacked out it’s fucking egregious


This is why I refuse to pay for mlb. I won’t pay full price for half the service.


> America MLB for the record, MLB was the major "exclusive regional cable sports network" player, and they were making tons of cash with their cable subscriptions. that's why they can sign $300 million (or whatever) contracts to players. 'Regional' is the key, because fans will pay a lot to get all the games of their favorite team. The national full league feeds are not as attractive (certainly not at 30 times the cost of a regional team) because most people don't really care about other teams, just theirs.


They won't care until the bubble bursts. The cable companies are DESPERATE for content these days and will overpay for live/weekly content like MLB and WWE above market price with lucrative multi-year contracts.


You can stream it to your tv..






Shhh! Don’t tell anyone else!


We're you able to stream on your computer? Because if so then you could always connect to your tv with hdmi cable


Pirate broadcasts off satellite. I done it before with nfl blackout games


I just stream hockey on my laptop that has an HDMI out so I can see it on my TV. I'm willing to pay for it but they're not willing to sell a product I'd pay for.


I haven't had cable in 10+ years, and I haven't had an antenna in 5+. If I cant stream it to the TV, it doesn't exist to me, and I feel no pressure to do so, outside of \*some\* sports. I wish the Olympics coverage were better, and I wish there were more free streaming sports like the Super Bowl or the occasional NFL game, but I figure they are going to get there eventually, and I am not upending my streaming only lifestyle for them, they will have to come to me.


Sportsurge is free and easy


Until yesterday, there was. I woke up to an email from Locast, now I’m pissed. This was awesome for $60/yr donation. Dear Big Four, I will never pay for your service again. https://deadline.com/2021/09/broadcasters-locast-copyright-lawsuit-1234825244/amp/


It’s official Locast is shutdown. Just got the email 10 minutes ago.


You can always [participate in Stanford's experiment to improve video-streaming algorithms](https://puffer.stanford.edu/)


Or, you could connect your antenna back to your TV, and get a bunch of NFL games. Using an antenna is literally easier than streaming IMO. The funny thing is, you say if you can't stream it to your TV, it doesn't exist. Well, an antenna is literally streaming things, for free, to your TV, but you refuse to do so. You're willfully making your live more difficult than it needs to be, all because you want to be super tech savvy, or something. Sometimes, the simplest method is the best method.




What's the quality like?


It drastically varies by location (e.g. at the bottom of a hill vs. the top of one). If you are in the US, [this is a great website to see what might be available](https://www.fcc.gov/media/engineering/dtvmaps). I bought a $100 outdoor antenna, put it on the side of my house (roof) and get most of what is available. But you can get 'window' antenna too that are cheaper and easier. Having said all of that, after the 'digital' transition, the quality is excellent or it is doesn't come in. The signal that comes over the air is often better quality than what comes over cable (certain cable channels are heavily compressed).


And the signal is often faster. I've seen touchdowns up to a minute sooner than my friends because I have an antenna and they're on cable or streaming.


1080i for a station's main channel (e.g. 13.1), 480p for their auxiliary channels (13.2, 13.3, 13.4). Old tv so I cannot attest to refresh rate


You either get crystal clear HD or nothing with new digital broadcasts. Start with the cheapest antenna you can find and see what you get, upgrade if necessary. Closer to a window helps reception, outdoor is even better but often not necessary.


Locast.org was extremely good for this, but a lawsuit against them by big media companies just shut them down today actually


I know people who can't get reception in their "market" where paying for cable or streaming cable is the only option.


The NFL is the only reason I still watch OTA television.


The Chicago Cubs moving exclusively to the Marquee Network may go down as one of the worst moves of a big market sports team.


The Cubs were always my second favorite team because I could rely on their games being on wgn all the time.


We hate the Ricketts


Yeah, paying $100+ a month for a cable/satellite subscription, and THEN having to pay $200+ to be able to watch any games you want? Nah, that’s dumb as fuck. Any game I wanna watch I just stream it.


And as users decide streaming platforms are enough and better value than traditional pay tv, cable companies are hording all the live sports content they can to give you no other choice than to pay. This is why most MLB teams in the US are locked into 20+ year contracts with partial ownership of the cable networks. The move to pay TV has never been about reach. Its always been about immediate revenue, even if its at the expense of popularity.


I'm away from my home town NFL team. I normally get maybe a half to two thirds of the games over the air because I'm still close enough that they're featured occasionally. When I don't get the games I throw on my eye patch and peg leg and stream them. Thing is, I'd gladly pay $5, maybe $10 per game to stream them legitimately, but that's not an option. I'd have to get DirectTV or some other garbage subscription to watch a bunch of shit I don't care about. And even then, I'd be dealing with blackouts. I'll give the NFL credit that you can stream pretty much any game for free via their app, but they lock you out from airplaying the stream to a TV, and I'm not sitting on my phone for 3.5 hours. When people have legitimate and fair options to consume media, they will. When companies get greedy and/or make things difficult people pirate. It's how it's always been and how it will always be.


Hockey used to be free to watch OTA in Canada until the broadcast rights got bought out by a premium cable network, now only Saturday night and playoff games are free. I couldn't imagine advertisement revenue is better on cable.


No kidding, who would have thought?? I can’t speak for Europe, but in America, the vast majority of professional sports venues are largely funded by public money. That alone should keep sporting events on free, over-the-air television - but America is a stupid, greedy, backwards place that will never pass up an opportunity to screw people over for an extra buck.


The same here in Europe. Don't worry.


Because advertisements are everywhere even in PayTV!


This. I’d consider paying to watch games if I didn’t have to deal with the commercials, which take up nearly the same amount of time as actual game play.


A lot of sports viewers only engage casually. They wouldn't actually seek it out on other platforms. They watch because it's on and others are watching and it's good for water cooler talk.


Did you see that ludicrous display last night?


Most games now that I only moderately care about I can just catch the highlights on YouTube. I don’t feel the pressure to DVR or watch it live like I did when I was younger. There’s only one or two teams I care to watch live, so I pay to watch them live when I can’t catch it on my streaming services.


That's the thing - this kills any casual sports fans. I mostly don't give a shit about sports but back in the day I might turn on a game if my dad was watching it or something, or maybe something big like the Super Bowl just for the sake of it. But now so much is behind paywalls and backwards confusing bullshit like blackouts means you have to really know what you're doing (and pay for it) to just watch a game or sports event of any kind (couldn't even watch the fucking Westminster Dog Show last year without access to a particular cable channel that wasn't available to stream legally). Oh well.


I have YouTube tv and MLB network, yet I get blacked out from games because I need a special upgraded tv package for the game and MLB network won't let me watch it... So fuck them, I'm paying for two different services and can't watch the fucking game.


Aren't stadium building costs subsidized by tax dollars? Isn't that why at least a certain number of seasonal games had to be broadcasted publicly? Whatever happened to that?


I’ve said it for years now. One of the reasons the NFL is so popular, is that it’s free OTA and on during the day when kids can watch. We’re gonna have generations of kids that haven’t watched a World Series game, or a NBA finals game because they start at 9 pm on a school night. The nfl knows at least to start the super bowl at a reasonable time , so everyone can watch.


I used to always listen to the Dodger games on the radio, but now I have to check half a dozen stations to see who has that particular game, or if it's even being broadcast


Well when you have fake fans rushing the field (super bowl half time with "home made signs") I'm not sure reaching the every-man is really their main concern. As other have mentioned, I suspect this will bite them in the ass long-term. But long term there will be many opportunities to right this wrong. It's a classic study in micro economics. What is the inflection point between high-prices / low volume vs low-prices / high volume. Yeah the "true fans" want low price/high volume. But the content providers are going to do what-ever they can to maximize profits - which right now seems to be high price/low volume.


I'm out of market for my my favorite baseball team. One year I paid for the on-demand package, but when they are "in - region" you can't watch them. In region basically whenever they play their top five played team, so that half of the games are blacked out for me. Now I stream all of my games illegally. I would gladly pay to watch them but they blocked them out, so now I just stream them.


Man, it's horrible. Growing up in the 80's/90's, man, you had all nfl football games on Sunday. Literally, switch between nbc, abc, cbs, watch football all day. And Monday night football on abc, it was a guarantee. no, based on local restrictions, and pay-for-sports tv, you're lucky to get one to three games free on tv during Sunday. Oh and during NBA season, sh*t, b-balls games almost every other night. Oh and March Madness, it kind of still have it. CBS literally had games almost 24/7 during March Madness. Working at a University has it perks, we would go to the student lounge and watch college b-ball all day. Also, we should be discussing, why local teams black-out televised games to their local communities? They'll sell out the game at horrific prices and then, as an rub salt in the wound, black out the game for locals because f*!! Them.


A bit late to the show but for football in Europe, youth has been watching less when compared to other generations. Perhaps partly burying their own grave by their greed for extra revenue through pay per view


Sports TV is a fucking racket


That’s part of why we have a generation of kids who will grow up to not give a fuck about sports.


This is why I watch way less, almost no sports, anymore. I don't miss it. I'm not paying sums of money each month for an 'okay' game.


IPTV, folks


Dear companies, do this and you’ll be fine ; Just want to watch 1 game ? Great. It’s 5$ Yours, everyone


I'm old enough to remember you could watch Lakers away games on channel 9 for free. Good thing too because we were too broke for cable. Now to see the Lakers you not only need cable you need Spectrum cable. What a load of crap


One of my favorite things about the NFL is that I can watch any an all playoff games on regular over the air TV. Any other sport many games are only available on paid TV.


America is so terrible about this. It drives people to illegally stream which is entirely backwards. The MLB has so many games that are behind a paywall, it's insane. The blackouts are so ridiculous as well, I mean I understand that the local cable channels want the viewership but come on. I don't have cable, but I have YoutubeTV and I can't watch my home team play. I'm not going to buy cable which is an inferior product just to watch my team play once a week for a third of the year.


Never understood why your country does these blackouts. Showing it live isn’t going to stop the stadiums from filling out.


It’s not for sellouts anymore, its contracts that prevent competing services. I would 100% buy MLB.TV’s streaming service if I could watch my local team play, but because of the regional sports network that bought the cable rights doesn’t want to compete with it, they pay MLB money to blackout the market. What really sucks is markets that are blacked-out that make zero sense, such as Hawaii that has no team or network showing any games, but can’t watch any west coast games because they are considered “in-market.”


Iowa is blacked out for Cubs, Cardinals, Twins, Royals, Brewers, and White Sox games.


The YouTube TV problem isn’t that, it’s the regional sports network (I’m guessing Bally, which is owned by the Sinclair Media Group fuckers) want to charge a ridiculous price to be included on the service and it’s just not worth it to them.


I'm fortunate to have a radio station that airs my NFL team's games when it's blacked out.


Yeah fuck it paying 4 different subscription