Roku debuts new Sports hub on home screen

Roku released a new hub for sports fans so they can find their favorite teams and games under one menu.
The new “Sports experience” debuted Thursday morning on Roku devices and Roku TVs.

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Roku released a new hub for sports fans so they can find their favorite teams and games under one menu.

The new Roku “Sports experience” debuted Thursday morning on Roku devices and Roku TVs. It is currently aggregating live sporting events from live TV streaming services, DIRECTV and TV Everywhere apps. 

Apple TV, DIRECTV, FOX Sports, FuboTV, Paramount+, Peacock, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, The Roku Channel, TNT, TBS, and truTV are currently supported, Roku said in a statement.

More viewing options will be added in the coming months. Roku’s sports hub currently shows upcoming games for NFL, college football, NBA, college basketball, NHL, and soccer. 

“We know that keeping track of where sports are being streamed has only become more fragmented over the past few years,” said Alex Hill, director of Live & Sports, Roku.

Streaming sports fans sometimes face an onerous task of clicking through multiple apps to find and watch a game. 

Roku is aiming to streamline its menu so TV viewers can start watching a game from its streaming devices, and supported Smart TVs.

Roku began aggregating live sports from a number of streaming apps. (Photo courtesy: Roku)

Streaming platforms, including Amazon Fire TV devices and Chromecast with Google TV, have already been creating menus that aggregate movies, shows and live TV across numerous streaming apps.

A recent poll by Roku revealed that the majority of participants (61 percent) said they wanted a centralized location for watching sports. About 63 percent of survey participants said they preferred features that allow them to browse their favorite sports teams and leagues. 

Figuring out where and how to watch a favorite sporting event or TV show isn’t going away anytime soon.

Cable TV networks, broadcast networks and regional sports networks still hold a majority of sports rights across the U.S. 

But all have been expanding sports offerings on streaming apps. Tech companies have been joining in the parade of exclusive sporting events.

Amazon Prime began streaming Thursday Night Football this year. Apple streamed a number of exclusive MLB games on Friday nights. 

Peacock and Paramount+, owned by NBCUniversal and Paramount Global respectively, have their own lineups of live sports that air on local broadcast stations.

The Walt Disney Company, the majority owner of ESPN, reported at the end of 2021 that it finalized a number of major programming agreements. 

A key goal is to bolster the growth of its streaming platform ESPN+, according to the company.

Roku plans on adding more streaming platform to its new “Sports experience” hub. (Photo courtesy: Roku)

ESPN+ has more than 17.1 million subscribers (as of October 2021), and grew 66 percent during the 2020-21 fiscal year, according to ESPN’s annual report.

Live events totaled more than 20,000 hours across all of ESPN’s networks and streaming platforms. Those events were in addition to thousands of hours of studio and original programming.

Even regional sports networks, including Bally Sports and NESN began offering standalone streaming services for in-market games in 2022. 

Roku isn’t sitting on the sidelines when it comes to investing in sports programming. The company also announced on Thursday that it added new sports-related shows to The Roku Channel. 

“The Rich Eisen Show”, an Emmy-nominated sports and entertainment talk show, is now exclusively streaming on The Roku Channel. 

Roku’s sports hub likewise has free, ad-supported content. TV viewers will be able to choose “Zones” specific to sports or leagues, and use voice search to track down upcoming games or matches.

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Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.