Roku today is adding several features designed to make it easier to watch and find sports on streaming, a growing dilemma for fans who complain that events are spread out among too many apps and services.
In the last few years, professional sports leagues have awarded their TV rights to multiple networks and streaming services, making it difficult for the casual fan to keep up with which carrier has which game. For example, NFL games this year have been available on a dizzying array of services, including NFL Plus, Amazon, CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN, ABC, Paramount, NFL Network, and DIRECTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket.
The new Roku features aimed at solving this issue include:
* A Sports banner on the Roku Home screen which allows users to search for ‘Sports’ or associated words like a specific team or league name;
* When clicking on the Sports banner, users will see live and upcoming games for an initial roster of leagues and conferences;
* When a user clicks on the tile for a specific game, a list of streaming options will display for that game. For example, for this month’s FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, Fox and Peacock are both streaming games. If the user clicked on the World Cup game, the two services would appear as viewing options. You will also see streaming providers that carry the game.
* Users can also choose to select various ‘Zones’ specific to individual sports or leagues to view live and upcoming games or events, discover content specific to their favorite leagues, or explore rows of free sports content.
The new Roku Home screen with Sports added.
The Roku Sports feature is currently supported by Apple TV, DIRECTV, FOX Sports, FuboTV, Paramount+, Peacock, Prime Video, Sling, The Roku Channel, TNT, TBS, and truTV. Roku says more viewing options will be added in the coming months.
“We know that keeping track of where sports are being streamed has only become more fragmented over the past few years,” Alex Hill, director of live & sports for Roku, said in a press release today.” “Watching your favorite teams should be simple, so we’ve made it a priority to build out a more seamless and streamlined way to discover and watch sports on our platform. Sports are a vital part of the streaming experience, and we will continue to make enhancements to that experience, like adding more supported providers and finding new ways for our users to follow their favorite teams.”
Roku Sports tells you which providers are carrying a specific game.
Roku says users will also see more integration of the Sports banner within other features such as Roku Search, Roku Voice and Sports Zone.
The streaming device maker is also adding some sports-related shows to The Roku Channel, including The Rich Eisen Show and Emeril Tailgates.
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— Phillip Swann