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Paywalls pose obstacles, close viewership to sports fans

Many+sports+show+games+on+multiple+platforms%2C+meaning+the+cost+to+watch+sports+is+rising.%0A
Graphic by Matthew Stashower ’25
Many sports show games on multiple platforms, meaning the cost to watch sports is rising.

Tyreek Hill made his return to Kansas City in a playoff game on Jan.13 as the Miami Dolphins took on the Kansas City Chiefs. It was a matchup that pitted two of the more prolific offenses together in a Wild Card Playoff game. Like any other football fan, I couldn’t wait for this game. The only problem was, however, the game aired exclusively on Peacock, NBC’s streaming service which costs $5.99 per month or $59.99 per year. While I thought about just paying the money to have access to Peacock, I realized it wasn’t worth it to purchase a whole new membership for a game that should have been aired on NBC for all to watch.

 

This issue represents a larger problem, which is that media companies and leagues are taking games that could be on for free, and putting them on behind paywalls. The goal should be to get as many eyeballs on a given game as possible, not to push them away with an obstacle such as a paywall. It’s like they’re trying to withhold games from us fans. 

 

It’s also becoming increasingly more costly to be a fan, as ticket prices have seen striking increases, parking at games is expensive and now watching games on TV is following suit. If you’re a big Yankee fan, like I am, and want to watch every game, you need a basic cable subscription in order to get the YES Network, ESPN and FOX  as well as a whole other  subscription to Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV and the aforementioned Peacock. That’s a ridiculous amount of services someone needs to watch all of their team’s games. 

The goal should be to get as many eyeballs on a given game as possible, not to push them away with an obstacle such as a paywall. It’s like they’re trying to withhold games from us fans. 

— Matthew Stashower '25

As for the hardcore NFL fans, if they want to be able to watch every game, they need a typical cable subscription, Amazon Prime Video for Thursday Night Football, ESPN+, Peacock and YouTube TV’s Sunday Ticket package. Previously, watching sports was easy, for all you needed was standard cable TV. Now, to the dismay of us sports fans, media companies and sports leagues want to maximize revenue, even at the cost of the fans. 

 

I understand that streaming is the future and younger people may be more likely to stream games than watch them on TV. However, this can still be accomplished without taking the games off cable. Luckily, aside from this Dolphins versus Chiefs clash, all other NFL games were shown on both NBC and Peacock, so people had the choice to watch for free on NBC or use a membership on Peacock. 

 

In a game that had as much anticipation and buzz as Hill’s homecoming match against the Chiefs, fans should have never been shut out of the game or forced to watch behind a paywall. All games should be on TV for free because, with the amount of importance that sports hold in this world, fans’ enjoyment and access to games should be prioritized over corporate greed.

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About the Contributor
Matthew Stashower ’25, Paper Sports Editor
Paper Sports Editor, Matthew Stashower ’25 has been interested in journalism and sports for as long as he can remember. A loyal Yankees fan, Stashower’s passion for sports was ignited by watching baseball with his dad. In combining two of his greatest interests, Stashower became involved with journalism to foster his love for sports. “I remember doing journalism in elementary school which sparked the interest, then in middle school I joined Ursus and wrote a lot of sports articles,” Stashower said. Stashower knew he wanted to continue pursuing journalism and immediately enrolled in Intro to Journalism, kick-starting his Inklings career. 

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