Dan Le Batard discusses the impact of streaming on sports fans. Screen grab: ‘The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz’

The rise of streaming has plenty of pros and cons for sports fans.

On the plus side, just about any game anywhere in the world is now available to be watched on your television, smartphone, computer, tablet or device of choice. Conversely, most of those games aren’t coming free — or even cheap, for that matter.

According to Dan Le Batard, we’ve now reached the point where the negatives are starting to outweigh the positives. Discussing Boomer Esiason’s informed speculation that Netflix could become the host of the NFL’s Christmas Day games, the Meadowlark Media co-founder noted that means that fans would have to have access — read: subscriptions — to Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, Peacock, ESPN+ and a traditional cable package to have access to the league’s full primetime slate.

“Netflix now getting into the football game, if indeed Boomer Esiason’s report is correct that Netflix is going to get into the game, is making it so much faster than I thought. You’re pricing out sports fans,” Le Batard said on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “You’re really hurting sports fans who care about stuff by taking advantage of their addiction to teams and making it so they can get — the more you love sports, the harder it is for you to afford everywhere where your games are about to be.

“Because cable is falling apart in front of you and it’s getting splintered so much by competitive greed… they don’t want to share the dollars with each other. They want to be the one or two winners so they get all the dollars.”

That trend clearly isn’t slowing down.

As the NBA negotiates its next media rights deal, the league has reportedly already reached an agreement with Amazon, which will see Prime Video host a weekly primetime game, the In-Season Tournament, play-in games and first and second-round playoff games, in addition to the conference finals every other year. Factor in the NFL’s growing streaming presence, MLB’s relationship with Apple TV, WWE Raw going to Netflix and the mess that is following professional soccer — both domestically and overseas — and sports fans seemingly have no choice but to subscribe to multiple streaming services to follow their favorite teams and leagues.

And while the rise of streaming has impacted all aspects of entertainment, as Le Batard points out, sports fans are especially affected. Between the appeal of live programming and the loyalty of fanbases, the reality is sports — and by proxy, sports fans — are always going to be at the forefront of the streaming wars.

“I feel bad for sports fans,” Le Batard said. “This is going to get so much more expensive than cable. You’re about to enter into a place where if you care about things, they’re going to take advantage of your sports allegiances, your loyalties and they’re going to make it very hard for you to afford everything.”

[The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.