On Tuesday, ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery unveiled plans to introduce a sports streaming platform in the fall, offering content from at least 15 networks and all four major professional sports leagues.
This collaborative effort aims to create a one-stop destination for sports enthusiasts, providing a solution for fans grappling with the increasing costs associated with subscribing to multiple services. Kevin Krim, the president and CEO of ad measurement firm EDO, likened this partnership to the approach taken by some networks when Hulu was launched in 2008.
The joint venture will see each of the three companies holding one-third ownership, with details such as the service’s name and pricing to be disclosed at a later date. Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav expressed excitement about delivering this new sports service, highlighting its potential to offer consumers more choice, enjoyment, and value.
The platform will feature content from various sports leagues, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, NASCAR, and college sports, along with major events like the NCAA tournaments, golf, tennis, and the FIFA World Cup. It will draw from 15 linear networks, encompassing ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery properties, providing subscribers with a comprehensive sports viewing experience.
Additionally, subscribers will have the option to bundle the new sports service with existing offerings such as Disney+, Hulu, and Max, further enhancing the value proposition. Fox CEO and Executive Chair Lachlan Murdoch emphasized the service’s potential to cater to passionate sports fans outside the traditional bundle model.
The timing of this announcement coincides with negotiations between ESPN, Warner Bros. Discovery, and the NBA regarding the renewal of broadcasting rights, a key factor driving the collaboration. Krim highlighted the significance of the NBA in motivating this move, given its substantial viewership and attractiveness to potential bidders.
Furthermore, ESPN has been actively seeking strategic partnerships in anticipation of launching its direct-to-consumer product in the near future. Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger hailed the launch of the new streaming sports service as a significant milestone, emphasizing the comprehensive offering it would provide to consumers and its importance for the media industry as a whole.