Sling TV’s 2017 State of Live Streaming


So much happens over the course of a year. At Sling TV, 2017 brought growth, change and a few surprises. From increasing our average viewing time by double digits to declaring that the Cowboys are still America’s team, read on to find out what 2017 meant for Sling TV, the #1 live TV streaming service1.



In an industry where overall TV viewership is declining2, our customers streamed more in 2017 than in 2016, with a 27% growth in hours watched per viewer, per day3. Now more than ever, Sling TV customers are choosing to personalize their service to build their perfect entertainment package. This year, Sling added even more choice, offering 22% more channels and 92% more on-demand content, expanding our on-demand library to more than 50,000 titles. With more control over what they watch, our customers are streaming more live television, breaking Sling TV’s peak viewership records six times the end of 2016.



We filled our Sunday Fundays with Sling, making it the most popular day to catch up on our favorite shows two years in a row, with more average hours per viewer than any other day of the week (Game of Thrones, watch party, anyone?).

And, primetime is still…in its prime. The most viewing sessions on Sling TV were started between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. ET, with the peak being at 8 p.m. ET.


For Sling customers, watching a rerun of an old favorite can be just as entertaining as a new episode. HGTV’s Fixer Upper was the most popular series nationwide and the top show in 31 states, followed by Big Bang Theory as second most popular series title and most viewed in 10 states; House Hunters landed the third most popular series spot, being the most viewed in 6 states. Other fan favorites included Modern Family, and the top episode all year was the 100th episode of The Walking Dead and the eighth season premiere, “Mercy.”


Here are the most popular series nationwide, based on hours viewed4:

  1. Fixer Upper
  2. Law & Order Special Victims Unit
  3. American Pickers
  4. The Big Bang Theory
  5. The Walking Dead
  6. House Hunters
  7. Property Brothers
  8. Impractical Jokers
  9. Live PD
  10. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives


Without a doubt, Sling TV customers love their sports, and 2017 was no different. Sling TV customers hold football close to their hearts (five out of the six times Sling TV broke viewership records this year, football was the top program), followed by college and professional basketball.

At the state level, the College Football National Championship (Alabama v. Clemson) topped the charts as the most popular event in 12 states. The NBA Playoffs Game 7, Wizards v. Celtics came in second as the most popular event in 6 states, but apparently Washington D.C. was more invested in the India v. Pakistan cricket final than the fate of their own Wizards.


One call we didn’t anticipate? The Cowboys are still America’s team, as the Sling nation watched the Cowboys v. Cardinals matchup in September more than any other NFL game on Sling TV. Another surprise? The most popular cricket match took the lead ahead of boxing, tennis, soccer and golf.

Here are the top sporting events nationwide throughout the year, in order of popularity based on peak viewership:

  1. College Football – #2 Clemson v. #1 Alabama (CFP National Championship) (1/9)
  2. NFL – Dallas Cowboys v. Arizona Cardinals (9/25)
  3. College Basketball – NCAA Basketball Tournament: Second round (3/19)
  4. NBA – NBA Playoff: Game 4: Celtics v. Cavaliers (5/23)
  5. MLB – Game 4: Dodgers v. Cubs (10/18)
  6. Cricket – 2017 ICC Champions Trophy: Final: Pakistan v. India (6/18)
  7. Boxing – Artur Beterbiev v. Enrico Koelling (11/11) (does not include PPV)
  8. Tennis – 2017 US Open – Women’s Championship (9/9)
  9. NHL – Stanley Cup Playoff: Game 2: Predators v. Penguins (5/31)
  10. Action Sports – X Games Aspen: Ski Big Air Women’s Final, Snowboard SuperPipe Women’s Final, Ski Big Air Men’s Final (1/28)
  11. Soccer – CONCACAF 2018 World Cup Qualifying Soccer: Trinidad and Tobago v. U.S. (10/10)
  12. Golf – 2017 Masters Golf Tournament (Round 2) (4/7)


While sports dominate live viewing trends, The Walking Dead took the top spot for most playback from Cloud DVR. Following TWD, news junkies couldn’t miss The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (#2) The Rachel Maddow Show (#4), and guilty pleasures like WWE (#5 & #8), The Real Housewives of Orange County (#3) and Teen Mom 2 (#6) were just some of the top shows recorded on users’ Cloud DVRs this year.

Here are the top 10 shows watched from Cloud DVR:

  1. The Walking Dead
  2. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
  3. The Real Housewives of Orange County
  4. The Rachel Maddow Show
  5. WWE Monday Night Raw
  6. Teen Mom 2
  7. Fear the Walking Dead
  8. WWE Smackdown
  9. Project Runway
  10. The Challenge

Here’s to what the next year streams, and thanks for watching with Sling TV.

To keep up with the latest announcements, bookmark this blog, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter (@Sling)!

To download the full infographic or an individual statistic image, visit the Sling TV Newsroom.

Sling Staff


Information included in this post indicates overall viewing trends on Sling TV domestic services.
1 Based on the number of OTT households as reported by comScore as of April 2017.
 2 Source: Neilsen Total Audience Report Q1 2017 (dated 7-12-2017):
3 Based on viewing trends of subscribers to Sling Orange and / or Sling Blue services and Extras between January 1, 2016 and December 7, 2017.
4 “Series” does not include news or sports