Streaming Hits All-Time High As NBA Is Expected to Ditch TNT for Amazon

Streaming’s dominance over cable continues to grow.
The NBA is expected to include Amazon in its next TV deal, which begins after the 2024–25 season.
The NBA is expected to include Amazon in its next TV deal, which begins after the 2024–25 season. / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

1. This graphic from Nielsen sums up why the NBA is ready to end its 35-year relationship with TNT for Amazon. As of May 2024, streaming now accounts for 38.8% of television viewing while cable accounts for 28.2%.

In May 2023, the gap was 36.4% for streaming vs. 22.8% for cable.

It’s not breaking news to say that streaming is the future, but when you see the numbers changing this rapidly, it’s eye-opening. It also makes you wonder if there will ever be a time when CBS and Fox aren’t airing NFL games on Sunday afternoons.

Other observations on these numbers:

• When the NFL sold Thursday Night Football to Amazon, the response from most people to those who complained about the league putting an exclusive game on a streaming service was, “Everyone has Amazon.” Yet, Hulu had more viewership in May than Amazon.

• When you see the dominance of Netflix among the streaming services, it’s not hard to figure out why the NFL would sell them a couple of Christmas Day games.

• The most surprising stat in the graphic, to me, is that Peacock is responsible for just 1.1% of the streaming share. I’d love to see what that number would be if Peacock didn’t have the exclusive rights to the WWE Network.

2. ESPN’s NHL voice, Sean McDonough, opened up about criticism he has received for his performance during the Stanley Cup Finals during an interview with Adam Schein earlier this week on SiriusXM’s Schein on Sports.

McDonough has been sick during the Oilers-Panthers series, but that hasn’t stopped hockey fans from taking shots at him.

“You know what,” said McDonugh, “it just kind of bothered me, not that you should pay attention, but people said, ‘Well, he’s got a lack of energy.’ Yeah, I’m really not excited to call a Stanley Cup Final game. I’ve been doing this for, I don’t know, 30-something years now. I hope people who’ve heard me over the years know that’s not the way I usually sound, and maybe I shouldn’t have tried to power through it. Maybe I should’ve stepped aside. The decision was made collectively, collaboratively with our bosses to give it a try, so I did. I’m just glad it’s hopefully behind us now and we’ll be healthy and excited."

3. I wrote this in Tuesday’s Traina Thoughts:

“How bad and unwatchable were the NBA Finals this year? So bad that the best highlight came on Monday when Celtics guard Derrick White chipped a tooth while going for a loose ball and teammate Jaylen Brown told White he was ugly.”

This prompted a question from one of my readers.

It’s crazy to me that this would have to be explained, but 1) the layoff between the conference finals and the Finals killed any momentum and anticipation for the Mavs-Celtics series; 2) the series was over in five games. There was zero drama. 3) Game 1 was decided by 18 points; Game 4 was decided by 38 points and Game 5 was decided by 18 points. The games were unwatchable.

And I’m far from the only one who wasn’t into the NBA Finals this year. The series averaged 11.3 million viewers, down 3% from last year’s Heat-Nuggets series.

And this from SportsMediaWatch.com: "Excluding the two COVID-altered series — Bucks-Suns in ’21 and Lakers-Heat in the 2020 'bubble' (4.0, 7.66M) — this year’s Finals ranks as the lowest rated on record and least-watched since 2007 (Spurs-Cavaliers: 9.29M)."

4. The Rockies had a 9–4 lead going into the ninth inning against the Dodgers on Tuesday night.

Los Angeles ended up winning the game, 11–9.

The game-winning three-run homer came from the Dodgers' Teoscar Hernandez after the first base umpire ruled that he checked his swing on what looked like a strike three swinging.

The best part of all this was Rockies right-fielder Jake Cave going ballistic as Hernandez’s ball was flying over the right-field fence.

5. I don’t remember ever seeing this video before, but it’s been shown over the past 12 hours since Willie Mays passed away. Back in 1965, the Dodgers and Giants got into a wild brawl that included a couple of players looking like they were about to take out players with bats.

6. The latest episode of SI Media With Jimmy Traina features interviews with Tom Brady and Jim Miller.

Brady kicks off the podcast with a discussion about his transition from the field to the booth for Fox. The future Hall of Famer explains why he wanted to become a broadcaster, what he thinks his strength will be in the booth, what he thinks his weakness will be, how he will judge his performance, how he thinks viewers will judge him, and more.

After the interview with Brady, author, reporter and podcast host Jim Miller joins the show to talk about the latest sports media news.

Why is WBD/Turner Sports expected to lose the NBA? What's the feeling inside of Bristol about Pat McAfee after his latest controversy involving Caitlin Clark? Could Stephen A. Smith leave ESPN soon? What sport does Miller think will leave ESPN and go to Netflix? Miller also shares his thoughts on The Sopranos finale, which aired 17 years ago this week.

Following Miller, Sal Licata from WFAN and SNY joins me for our weekly "Traina Thoughts" segment. This week's topics include the dumbest rule in sports, old school football video games, getting hacked on Twitter, Father's Day and much more.

You can listen to the SI Media With Jimmy Traina below or on Apple and Spotify.

You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on Sports Illustrated‘s YouTube channel.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I saw that Martin Short’s Jiminy Glick character is going to interview Bill Maher on HBO this Friday. This seems like a great opportunity to remember some of Glick’s best work.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.


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Jimmy Traina

JIMMY TRAINA

Jimmy Traina is a staff writer and podcast host for Sports Illustrated. A 20-year veteran in the industry, he’s been covering the sports media landscape for seven years and writes a daily column, Traina Thoughts. Traina has hosted the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast since 2018, a show known for interviews with some of the most important and powerful people in sports media. He also was the creator and writer of SI’s Hot Clicks feature from 2007 to '13.