Clearleap survey: Sports is not the lynchpin keeping the pay-TV bundle together after all

With the pay-TV bundle facing possible extinction at the hands of streaming a la carte programming threats, the conventional wisdom has been that access to national and regional sports networks has been the "glue" keeping consumers attached to the bundled distribution paradigm.

But a new U.S. consumer survey conducted by over-the-top video technology company Clearleap suggest that consumer demand for sports might not be that powerful.

Clearleap surveyed 435 U.S. consumers ages 18-49 in January and found that only 4.03 percent of respondents would pay more than $50 a month to stream their favorite sport without a cable subscription. 

Only 8.05 percent said they'd pay $21 to $49 for such a sports-only package, while 36.58 percent would pay $20 or less. 

Taken at face value, Clearleap's feedback defies the notion that a large chunk of pay-TV subscribers are paying expensive monthly service bills only to get ESPN and the regional sports networks that feature their favorite teams. 

Other interesting Clearleap findings:

  • Soccer fans are 14 percent more likely to stream their sport than fans of football, baseball and basketball, which prefer to watch linear television.
  • Almost 87 percent of fans of the "big three" sports in the U.S. prefer to watch their games via pay-TV set-top or antenna, with only 5.4 percent saying they stream this programming via a living room device like Apple TV or Roku. Just 2.22 percent of these fans use smart phones to watch sports. 
  • TV series are the most popular TV Everywhere content, with over 51 percent of respondents indicating that as their multi-screen preference. Only 20 percent of respondents said sports is their favorite TV Everywhere programming. 

For more:
- read this Clearleap white paper

Related links:
Verizon's skinny bundle porks up fast with add-ons, Consumer Reports finds
Top cable execs: Programming agreements allow operators to experiment with skinny bundles
Shrinking cable bundles may entice users, but operators and programmers remain concerned