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Article: The Rising Popularity of Sports Streaming in the UK

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By Jonathan Lewis | 14th Oct 2022

The way we watch TV has been gradually changing over recent years and watching sports is no exception. In the past, we would need various subscription services in order to watch certain sports events or even travel to venues that were showing the game live. Much like the likes of Netflix and its change in the way we watch films, the world of watching competitive sports has changed too! Furthermore, we can also see that UK sports streaming trends change but one thing that we can be certain of is a love of football and a keenness to watch large, international events.

Infographic Sports Streaming Trends 1 1

What Are People Looking for Online?

In the past, we have seen search numbers for ‘stream sports’ rise as people started to catch on to the fact that it was possible to stream various sporting events online – although, understandably during lockdown when many sports events were cancelled, the search numbers declined. However, what we have seen in the past couple of years is a decline in the generic search term, as people opt for much more exact search terms such as “watch Man City” instead.

Perhaps unsurprisingly football is one of the most popular sports to stream online in the UK; with Liverpool out in front in average streaming numbers. Other popular football teams to watch online include Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. That said, it isn’t just football that people are interested in when they look for sports events being streamed online; other popular sports on the watch list include rugby, cricket, F1, tennis and golf.

The Knock-on Effect

We’re used to seeing social media trends affect things like TV programme popularity and sporting events are no exception. For example, we saw the Netflix show ‘Drive to Survive’ pick up great viewing numbers; which meant that people were talking about this online – this led to an increase in search for people wanting to watch F1 online, as they had an interest in this compared to the Netflix TV show.

Sports Streaming for the Rest of the Year

Although there will be a number of popular sporting events taking place for the rest of the year, one thing that many people are looking forward to is watching the FIFA World Cup, which starts this November. With the event taking place in Qatar and 32 teams taking part, time zones will certainly be something that will need to be taken into consideration when people start thinking about which games they want to watch. That’s where streaming come in and the great thing about it is that it helps to ensure watching competitions such as FIFA is as accessible as possible. The popularity surrounding both sporting events and the streaming of them affects a number of things, for example, ‘Chloe Kelly’ became a very popular search term offering her last goal to help England win at the Euro Finals.

What 2023 sees for the future of streaming remains to be seen, but what we do know is that it is something that is likely to continue to rise in popularity as time progresses.

Jonathan Lewis is an MFF sports writer

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