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Sports Streaming Interest in the U.S. by State

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data on sports streaming for all 50 American states

Sports Streaming Interest in the U.S.

The global streaming revolution is well underway, and sports streaming is no different.

In 2022, 85% of Americans had a streaming account and 58% had more than one. And with old exclusive cable deals winding down, sports streaming interest has grown from both consumers and providers, including sports leagues, streamers, and cable providers.

This graphic from ExpressVPN provides an overview of sports streaming interest in America by using Google Trends data to examine the most searched-for sports.

Sports Streaming Search Trends

Examining the frequency of streaming sports queries reveals both important sporting events and the effects of COVID-19.

From 2017 to 2021, some of the notable and recurring spikes in sports streaming interest occurred around the following dates:

  • Early January to Mid-February, coinciding with the NFL playoff season and the Superbowl.
  • Early June, coinciding with the NBA and NHL finals playoffs and the UEFA Champion’s League final.
  • Early September, coinciding with the start of the NFL regular season, and cascading into October for the start of the MLB playoffs and NBA and NHL regular seasons.

One major exception? The end of August in 2017 saw the largest spike in searches, likely for the professional boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor. Illegal streams alone reached nearly 3 million viewers.

And of course, interest in 2020 bottomed out in March during the start of the pandemic, picking back up in July once the first sports leagues restarted.

Sports Streaming Popularity by States and Hot Dates

From 2017 to 2021, soccer, basketball, and football saw notable surges in streaming interest.

With football and baseball long considered as Americaโ€™s favorite pastimes, the uptick for soccer is especially notable. The sport’s popularity in the U.S. has tripled in the last decade, which may continue to climb as the 2026 World Cup will be hosted in North America.

But when looking at the most popular sport in all 50 states by streaming interest, football and basketball came out on top.

StateTop Searched Sport
Alabama๐Ÿˆ Football
Alaska๐Ÿˆ Football
Arizona๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Arkansas๐Ÿ€ Basketball
California๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Colorado๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Connecticut๐Ÿ€ Basketball
DC๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Delaware๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Florida๐Ÿˆ Football
Georgia๐Ÿˆ Football
Hawaii๐Ÿˆ Football
Idaho๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Illinois๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Indiana๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Iowa๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Kansas๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Kentucky๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Louisiana๐Ÿˆ Football
Maine๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Maryland๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Massachusetts๐Ÿˆ Football
Michigan๐Ÿˆ Football
Minnesota๐Ÿ’ Hockey
Mississippi๐Ÿˆ Football
Missouri๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Montana๐Ÿˆ Football
Nebraska๐Ÿˆ Football
Nevada๐Ÿ€ Basketball
New Jersey๐Ÿ€ Basketball
New Mexico๐Ÿ€ Basketball
New York๐Ÿ€ Basketball
North Carolina๐Ÿ€ Basketball
North Dakota๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Ohio๐Ÿˆ Football
Oklahoma๐Ÿˆ Football
Oregon๐Ÿˆ Football
Pennsylvania๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Rhode Island๐Ÿ€ Basketball
South Carolina๐Ÿˆ Football
South Dakota๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Tennessee๐Ÿˆ Football
Texas๐Ÿˆ Football
Utah๐Ÿˆ Football
Vermont๐Ÿˆ Football
Virginia๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Washington๐Ÿ€ Basketball
West Virginia๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Wisconsin๐Ÿ€ Basketball
Wyoming๐Ÿ€ Basketball

By number of states, basketball takes the first spot. 30 states including California and much of the Northeastern U.S. searched for NBA streams above other sports, reflecting the rising success of the league.

Football was second, with NFL stream searches leading in 19 states including Texas and Florida. But in terms of overall popularity, searches for NFL streams were still more popular than NBA streams in both 2017 and 2021.

The sole standout was Minnesota, which searched for NHL streams above all other sports.

TVโ€™s Influence on Sports

Another factor to consider in sports streaming interest is the influential effect of other popular content.

For example, search interest for Formula 1 streams spiked alongside the introduction of the Netflix documentary on the sport, Drive to Survive. Likewise, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit led to record-breaking interest in chess.

And as sports executives know all too well, having overly entertaining or charismatic individuals can also spark attention. Muhammad Ali had an oversize impact on boxing. Tiger Woods causes ratings and attendance for golf events to skyrocket.

What events, or people, will be the next to drive sports streaming interest in the U.S.? And which sport will benefit?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Politics

How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?

Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point since Trump won the 2016 presidential election.

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How Much Do Americans Trust the Media?

Media trust among Americans has reached its lowest point in six years.

Gallup began its survey on media trust in 1972, repeating it in 1974 and 1976. After a long period, the public opinion firm restarted the polls in 1997 and has asked Americans about their confidence level in the mass mediaโ€”newspapers, TV, and radioโ€”almost every year since then.

The above graphic illustrates Gallup’s latest poll results, conducted in September 2023.

Americansโ€™ Trust in Mass Media, 1972-2023

Americans’ confidence in the mass media has sharply declined over the last few decades.

Trust in the mass media% Great deal/Fair amount% Not very much% None at all
197268246
197469218
197672224
1997533115
199855359
1999553411
2000513712
2001533314
2002543511
2003543511
2004443916
2005503712
2007473517
2008433521
2009453718
2010433621
2011443619
2012403921
2013443322
2014403624
2015403624
2016324127
2017412929
2018453024
2019413028
2020402733
2021362934
2022342838
2023322939

In 2016, the number of respondents trusting media outlets fell below the tally of those who didnโ€™t trust the media at all. This is the first time that has happened in the poll’s history.

That year was marked by sharp criticism of the media from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.

In 2017, the use of the term ‘fake news’ rose by 365% on social media, and the term was named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.

The Lack of Faith in Institutions and Social Media

Although thereโ€™s no single reason to explain the decline of trust in the traditional media, some studies point to potential drivers.

According to Michael Schudson, a sociologist and historian of the news media and a professor at the Columbia Journalism School, in the 1970s, faith in institutions like the White House or Congress began to decline, consequently impacting confidence in the media.

โ€œThat may have been a necessary corrective to a sense of complacency that had been creeping inโ€”among the public and the news mediaโ€”that allowed perhaps too much trust: we accepted President Eisenhowerโ€™s lies about the U-2 spy plane, President Kennedyโ€™s lies about the ‘missile gap,’ President Johnsonโ€™s lies about the war in Vietnam, President Nixonโ€™s lies about Watergate,โ€
Michael Schudson – Columbia Journalism School

More recently, the internet and social media have significantly changed how people consume media. The rise of platforms such as X/Twitter and Facebook have also disrupted the traditional media status quo.

Partisans’ Trust in Mass Media

Historically, Democrats have expressed more confidence in the media than Republicans.

Democratsโ€™ trust, however, has fallen 12 points over the past year to 58%, compared with 11% among Republicans and 29% among independents.

How-Much-Do-Americans-Trust-the-Media

According to Gallup, Republicansโ€™ low confidence in the media has little room to worsen, but Democrat confidence could still deteriorate and bring the overall national reading down further.

The poll also shows that young Democrats have less confidence in the media than older Democrats, while Republicans are less varied in their views by age group.

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