We live in a golden age for sports viewing. In the past, your options as a sports fan were very limited, especially if you didn’t have cable. You were completely at the mercy of broadcast television and the games that happened to air in your region. You didn’t really have many options, and if you moved away from the teams you supported, it could be very hard to keep up with all the action.
Fortunately, those days are gone, and now people have access to nearly any sporting event on the planet all day and all night long.
More Sports Being Broadcast
Sports have always played a large part in our lives. Even if you don’t care about sports at all and don’t follow them, they have affected your life in one way or another. However, sports used to be far more contained than they are now. There were specific times when you knew you would be able to view particular sports, and those windows were limited. Now, there are more sports available to view for a myriad of reasons.
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One of the biggest reasons that there are more sports available for viewing these days is that there are more professional sports leagues. Soccer is the biggest sport in the world. However, in the U.S., its popularity has always lagged behind.
Major League Soccer did not begin operations until 1993. Even after its founding, the league did not have enough teams or popular support to really join the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB among the nation’s top sports leagues until about a decade ago.
The WNBA has continued to gain support with each passing year since it was founded in 1996. Major League Rugby (MLR) began operations just four years ago. Despite its short life, the league is growing quickly. It has already expanded from an original seven teams in its inaugural season to a current 12 team format with plans for further expansion beginning as early as next year.
Those are just a few examples from the United States alone. However, new sports leagues are popping up around the globe all the time, as the popularity of different sports continues to grow in a variety of markets.
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Most sports leagues continue to expand their schedules in a variety of manners. Even MLB, which already has the most extensive calendar of any sport, continues to grow in small ways.
About a decade ago, they added a second wildcard team to the playoffs while temporarily expanding the playoffs further in 2020. While that playoff expansion will not be bak for the 2021 season, there is certainly talk about a further move for more playoff games in the future.
The NFL is also adding another regular-season game this season and last year expanded the playoff format to include a third wildcard team.
Meanwhile, the NHL is adding a new team this year, with the Seattle Kraken joining the competition. This addition will add plenty more games to the league’s season schedule.
The timeslots in which many games were played used to be much more set in stone. There were certain days of the week in which you would expect certain sports to be played. However, those schedules are expanding as leagues find that with changes in the way people work and the way they watch, there are more times in which they can find a sizeable audience.
MLB has begun shifting schedules around for teams and bringing more games to Mondays and Thursdays, which always carried the least baseball, as they were the only days in which teams typically had off days.
The NFL has made similar moves with Thursday football. Once reserved for Thanksgiving, these weekday games are now a weekly occurrence throughout the league.
The Rise of Streaming
Perhaps the greatest change to people’s ability to view more sports has been the fact that many people have begun using streaming platforms for their sports viewing needs. Streaming gives people options for viewing more national games than they otherwise would be able to through broadcast or cable. In addition, it also allows sports fans to discover more sports that are not very popular within their own country.
The ability to watch football streaming video is a critical factor in the game’s sharp uptick in interest for many countries over the last few years.
The ability to stream sports provides fans with options for essentially unlimited live sports streaming, as you can basically guarantee that a professional sports league somewhere in the world has a game going on at any given time. The only time when this was not the case in recent memory was in the early months of the pandemic when many countries had suspended sporting activities.
The ability to view more sports from all over the world obviously increases your sports viewing options in the short term, but it also has long-term implications. A growing interest in more sports will lead to quicker expansion of new leagues in new areas where a sport has previously held little to no sway. As people’s interest in more sports grows, more leagues will find success, and sports viewing options will continue to expand.