Forget cable woes and fragmented platforms. Three of the biggest media companies – Disney, Fox Corp., and Warner Bros. Discovery – are teaming up to launch the ultimate sports streaming service, promising to offer major-league sports like the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the Fifa World Cup, as well as access live games and highlights from several major collegiate competitions, all under one roof.
While there’s no shortage of streaming platforms in 2024, this new venture is focused exclusively on sports offerings. The still-to-be-named service will have its own dedicated app (currently unreleased) and aims to expand sports viewing options without cannibalising existing networks. It will offer a package of live channels like ESPN, TNT, and FS1, alongside additional streamed sports content like exclusive broadcasts, highlights, and replays.
Although some specific sports might not be included, the company emphasises that the streaming platform will have a new brand, independent management, and the option to bundle with Disney+, Hulu, or Max. While specific pricing and tiers are yet to be announced, the promise of a new sports-focused streaming platform could make it an enticing option for die-hard cord-cutting sports fans.
“The launch of this new streaming sports service is a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger, in an official statement. “This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other leaders.”
Disney, Fox Corp., and Warner Bros. will jointly own the new, unnamed service with equal board representation and non-exclusive sports content licensing. The service is still awaiting the finalisation of agreements before announcing pricing information and a launch date.
“This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value,” the Warner Bros Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, said in a statement.
While Fox’s chief executive, Lachlan Murdoch, in an official statement, said, “We’re pumped to bring the Fox Sports portfolio to this new and exciting platform. We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place.” Prominent media analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson described the deal as “the ultimate play to take ownership of their own sports destinies, foregoing their reliance on the current distribution system.”
Even though the idea of a one-stop shop for sports sounds enticing, the general decline in popularity of streaming services due to rising subscription costs and content cuts by companies like WB and Disney raises concerns.
Featured Video from Man of Many