Never underestimate the power of the National Football League (NFL).
In a new survey of 1,003 cable TV subscribers published this week, KilltheCableBill and Mindnet Analytics found that 15.4 percent of people would be "very likely" to cancel their cable subscriptions if this year's NFL season is postponed. Another 17.5 percent of respondents said that they'd be "somewhat likely" to cancel their subscription.
Collectively, that suggests that a third of people may cancel their cable subscriptions this year if the NFL doesn't have a season.
When asked if there are no major sporting events aired by May 1 across every sport, 9.8 percent of people said they'd be "very likely" to cancel their cable service.
It's worth noting that KilltheCableBill is a site dedicated to cord-cutting and may be somewhat biased toward certain results, but the site said its survey was designed with fairness in mind. It surveyed only cable subscribers who see value in cable television, and it discounted those subscribers who answered questions too rapidly, to limit fake responses. And according to the same survey, two-thirds of respondents would still keep cable television if the NFL season is postponed.
Still, it's an interesting finding in a world that has been thrown into turmoil by the coronavirus outbreak. Millions of people are out of work and others are forced to work from home. Their habits are changing dramatically, and they're now spending far more time in front of their televisions than they otherwise might.
And while that has proven to be a boon for video game makers and streaming providers, cable and satellite service may be a different story.
As people have cut the cord over the years, live programming like sports has helped to prop up cable and satellite providers. But with no live sports to watch, and plenty of content available at a moment's notice on an ever-growing number of streaming subscriptions, consumers may question whether their cable and satellite connections are worth keeping.
That said, the study doesn't address what might happen when major live sports are back on television. It's possible customers will temporarily stop their cable and satellite service only to bring it back when they're ready to watch live sports again.
Then again, live sports are available on live streaming platforms, too. So, if they cut the cord, they might just find there's no reason to go back.
Either way, a lack of live sports is clearly having an impact on plenty of companies. And cable and satellite companies might be at the center of that.