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Sports Streaming Interest in the U.S. by State



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 America’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
Alabama🏈 Football
Alaska🏈 Football
Arizona🏀 Basketball
Arkansas🏀 Basketball
California🏀 Basketball
Colorado🏀 Basketball
Connecticut🏀 Basketball
DC🏀 Basketball
Delaware🏀 Basketball
Florida🏈 Football
Georgia🏈 Football
Hawaii🏈 Football
Idaho🏀 Basketball
Illinois🏀 Basketball
Indiana🏀 Basketball
Iowa🏀 Basketball
Kansas🏀 Basketball
Kentucky🏀 Basketball
Louisiana🏈 Football
Maine🏀 Basketball
Maryland🏀 Basketball
Massachusetts🏈 Football
Michigan🏈 Football
Minnesota🏒 Hockey
Mississippi🏈 Football
Missouri🏀 Basketball
Montana🏈 Football
Nebraska🏈 Football
Nevada🏀 Basketball
New Jersey🏀 Basketball
New Mexico🏀 Basketball
New York🏀 Basketball
North Carolina🏀 Basketball
North Dakota🏀 Basketball
Ohio🏈 Football
Oklahoma🏈 Football
Oregon🏈 Football
Pennsylvania🏀 Basketball
Rhode Island🏀 Basketball
South Carolina🏈 Football
South Dakota🏀 Basketball
Tennessee🏈 Football
Texas🏈 Football
Utah🏈 Football
Vermont🏈 Football
Virginia🏀 Basketball
Washington🏀 Basketball
West Virginia🏀 Basketball
Wisconsin🏀 Basketball
Wyoming🏀 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.

TV’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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Visualizing the Highest-Paid Athletes in 2021

Athletes pull huge sums of money from their on-field and off-field contracts. Here we rank the top 50 highest-paid athletes in the world.



Ranking the Highest-Paid Athletes in 2021.

Who Were the Highest-Paid Athletes in 2021?

The financial figures in sport are enormous. The highest-paid athletes in the world make tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions per year.

The global pandemic put a significant dent in the commercial aspect of many sports. Even though the teams and their owners earned significantly less during this period, individual athletes actually thrived.

According to the Forbes annual rankings of the world’s highest-paid athletes for 2021, the top 50 of them turned in a record-setting year and made nearly $2.8 billion in 12 months, beating 2019’s record total by more than $150 million.

Highlights of the Year

This year’s list had a multitude of names making the big bucks. Here are some of the highlights:

Connor McGregor is 2021’s highest-paid athlete

MMA fighter Connor McGregor tops the list with a whopping $180 million earned in 2021. According to McGregor, this has been a long time coming, who in 2016 infamously boasted to soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo that he’d overtake him one day as sports’ highest-paid star.

Roger Federer lands at the 7th spot

Roger Federer’s on-field earnings for 2021 were a mere $0.03 million, but he still lands in the 7th spot. Recovering from a knee injury, Roger Federer made nearly all of his $90 million in earnings from sponsorships.

Naomi Osaka is the only woman among the top 15 earners

Naomi Osaka is the highest-paid female athlete on this list and the only one to crack the top 15. Over the last year, she won her second Australian and U.S. Open titles, while also receiving media attention for her stances on mental health and racial equality.

Dak Prescott had the highest on-field earning

The highest on-field earning by any player was by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott who earned $97.5 million in 2020. In March of 2021, Prescott signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension with the Cowboys, with a $66 million signing bonus.

Motor racing’s top earners

Seven-time Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton and newcomer and current world championship leader Max Verstappen are the only two from the sport of auto racing on the list.

Significance in Numbers

Let’s take a look at the most notable numbers in this year’s list:

What the Future Holds for the Highest-Paid Athletes

With contracts and endorsement deals growing bigger every year, the number of athletes breaking the $100 million mark will continue to increase.

While supermax contracts and weekly wages make the headlines, endorsement deals account for a significant portion of an athlete’s income. And that piece of the pie is growing steadily. The off-the-field earnings of the top 50 athletes reached $1.04 billion this year, compared with $556 million back in 2012.

If the last year has been any indication, socio-political messages and social media will likely play an essential part in how athletes are perceived and their endorsements are impacted as we go forward in the future.

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