Streaming Live Sports in Canada

What you’re getting in Sportsnet NOW?

In 2016, it has become the norm for people to stream the content they want, however they want. That includes movies, television shows, and—most importantly to you—sports. Not only do you want to be able to stream, but you want to watch your favourite sports, in the best quality, on any screen that you happen to have at hand–a television, phone, your tablet… whatever’s closest in that moment.

In the past, people had to sit in front of the television at a designated time on a designated day of the week to catch their shows or sports. If they didn’t, they missed it. That way of viewing is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

The media industry is rapidly changing to a model that allows the content to live around the viewer’s schedule, not the other way around. The consumer is in a position of power, and why shouldn’t it be that way? If someone is going to spend their money on a product, they want to use it in whatever way best suits them.

Services like Netflix, Crave, and the Apple Store have people covered for shows and movies, but what’s out there for the sports fan?

5-7 years ago, the options for people to stream sports online were limited in quality, reliability—and well, legality. Today, there is a streaming package to fit most anybody’s need. As you can see in our handy chart below, most major sports have rolled out their own streaming products, available for customers to purchase directly from them. They vary in price and in content, but are an increasingly viable option for those without a traditional TV package.

**Pricing as of April 2016 for Canadian customers. MLB.tv prices shown are in US Dollars.

To start, Rogers NHL LIVE™ and NBA League Pass differ from Sportsnet NOW™ in that they are out-of-market services. A customer gets a huge volume of games, but is not allowed to watch in-market games, unless they have a TV subscription (What are in-market games again? Check out the NHL Regional Blackout post for a refresher). With Sportsnet NOW, customers have access to their in-market games without a TV subscription. Want to see the breakdown for each team? Check them out for Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto.

Sportsnet NOW allows fans to get a whole host of different sports, all under one roof. It allows a customer that doesn’t have a TV subscription to still host their friends for the big game, without having to subscribe to a number of different services.

Since Sportsnet™ owns all 82 games of the Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks, Sportsnet NOW becomes a one-stop shop for fans of those teams to catch every game within their viewing region. It’s a place to catch all 162 Blue Jays games, while also getting your daily sports shows and analysis.

It’s a place to catch some basketball, baseball, hockey, curling, wrestling, and more. In short, it’s about choice—which is what consumers want in 2016.

The other services are generally for the hard-core fan for a single sport. In Canada, the NFL’s GamePass does not currently offer the ability to watch live games, only replays 24-48 hours after completion.

The ability to watch all 2,430 games of the MLB season in MLB.tv, or over 1,100 games of the NBA season in League Pass is enticing to some, but, most typically, if you aren’t a fan of the local in-market team, a person may use it to watch a single team. If you’re a Calgary Flames fan living in Montreal (out of market) for example, or you want to watch over 1,000 regular season games and the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, then a service like Rogers NHL LIVE™ makes sense.

All of these services have their audience and base, that’s ultimately why they exist. They offer drastically different content for roughly the same price. To go with the larger trend around changing viewing habits, sports are beginning to catch up to the streaming services for television shows and movies.

The change has been more gradual, but the foundation is now in place. In today’s media world, there’s an abundance of choice for the consumer, Sportsnet NOW is simply adding to those choices.

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