The online option for viewing is growing in acceptance but still lags far behind traditional cable and satellite.
Less than half of homes have a television or device connected to a television capable of streaming video that is used to stream at any point during a month. The number of homes that can access ESPN simply entering the channel number on the remote, flipping channels or using program guide is more than double the number that have Netflix.
Given the smaller number of people who have the technology to access streaming vs traditional television and the smaller number of people who take advantage of the technology they have, the ability to reach viewers by streaming is a concern.
Viewers are less likely to just stumble upon a game as they do with the established channels and choose to watch.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently posted online viewing numbers for the Sun Belt. The report showed that Missouri at Arkansas State, available only on ESPN3 drew 139,960 unique viewers.
To put those numbers in perspective, the same day that the Red Wolves and Tigers played San Jose State and Air Force drew 128,000 viewers on ESPNU, Purdue and Indiana State had 101,000 viewers on ESPNEWS and Eastern Illinois at Northwestern pulled in 59,000 viewers on ESPNEWS.
While far behind the day’s most watched game (Oregon vs. Michigan State with nearly 7.9 million viewers) the numbers for Mizzou-AState show the potential for streaming.
SEC Network, Big Ten Network, Pac-12 Network, CBS Sports, American Sports Network, and the various Fox networks other than Fox, FS1, and FS2 are not reported in national ratings. Those networks are generally assumed to draw lower ratings given the selection of games available and smaller reach of the networks.
Based on the reported networks there are other games on traditional television last year that had average ratings below the audience online for AState and Mizzou.
Tulane - SMU 56,000 ESPNEWS
Tulsa-Cincinnati 61,000 ESPNEWS
Tulsa - ECU 62,000 ESPNEWS
Tulsa-SMU 63,000 ESPNEWS
UCF-Tulsa 67,000 ESPNEWS
SDSU-SJSU 71,000 ESPNU
Tulane - UCF 73,000 ESPNEWS
SMU - Memphis 77,000 ESPNEWS
UMass - Buffalo 81,000 ESPNU
ULM - Texas State 84,000 ESPNU
ECU-SMU 86,000 ESPNEWS
SMU-USF 86,000 ESPNEWS
Tulane-Temple 90,000 ESPNU
UCF-Cincinnati 101,000 ESPNEWS
Ball State - Ohio 101,000 ESPNU
Central Michigan - Kent State 106,000 ESPNU
Texas State - Ga Southern 107,000 ESPNU
UConn-UCF 111,000 ESPNEWS
LaTech - Rice 113,000 FS1
USF-UConn 121,000 ESPNU
UConn - Tulane 130,000 ESPNEWS