Over-the-top streaming services are becoming a big part of the sports world, and when Hulu launches theirs in 2017, they may be trying to bring in direct-from-league packages like NFL Sunday Ticket. The Sunday Ticket package is currently only available to DirecTV subscribers, and there’s no firm indication that that will change, but ahead of the launch of their new streaming service next year, Hulu sent out new surveys asking about potential subscribers’ interest in a variety of league packages:
Many of those services currently have streaming-only options, but Sunday Ticket does not, so it’s a particularly interesting thing to include here. Again, there’s no indication that AT&T (which now owns DirecTV) would make it available to a streaming service, given how important Sunday Ticket has been to DirecTV’s brand, but it’s notable that Hulu is at least looking to gauge how interested their potential OTT subscribers are in these kinds of league-distributed packages.
We may see some deals struck, too, as the numbers of people who only subscribe to streaming TV services are rising. Sony’s Playstation Vue (which includes ESPN and other sports options) has a reported 120,000 subscribers only months after its nationwide rollout in May, and the longer-established SlingTV from Dish (which also includes ESPN and is now available through Apple TV) has 700,000. ESPN has decided they’d rather be part of these “skinny bundles” than committed to traditional cable packages alone, and they may roll out their own (probably light) OTT service at some point soon. We’ll see if Hulu gets enough positive feedback from survey respondents to pursue some or all of these league packages, and if they’re able to get anywhere with the leagues, but the basic idea of streaming services as a way to consume sports is on the rise, and this suggests that streaming service providers are very interested in carrying sports content.