ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have jointly announced plans to introduce a comprehensive sports streaming platform set to debut in the fall.
This new alliance aims to cater to sports enthusiasts by offering an all-in-one platform featuring content from at least 15 networks and all major professional sports leagues.
Under this partnership, each of the three companies will hold an equal one-third ownership stake in the venture. The platform is poised to revolutionize how fans access sports content, providing a convenient one-stop destination for their viewing needs.
"We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place," remarked Fox CEO and Executive Chair Lachlan Murdoch in a statement.
Streaming Exclusive Sports Content
The streaming service is expected to include a wide range of sporting events, encompassing games from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, NASCAR and college sports, along with marquee tournaments, such as the men's and women's NCAA tournament, golf, tennis, and the FIFA World Cup.
Subscribers will also gain access to content from 15 linear networks, including ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNEWS, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, TNT, TBS and truTV.
The platform's pricing and official name have yet to be announced, but it is anticipated to offer flexibility for subscribers who may choose to bundle the service with other streaming platforms like Disney+, Hulu and Max.
A Strategic Move Ahead of NBA's Broadcasting Rights Renewal
Industry experts view this collaboration as a strategic move, particularly in anticipation of upcoming negotiations to renew NBA broadcasting rights, which are set to conclude by the end of the next season.
"To me, the thing that's triggering all this is the NBA. We see time and again that the NBA is the second-best franchise on TV behind the NFL," said Kevin Krim, president and CEO of ad measurement firm EDO.
"You're sort of staring at that renegotiation and new bids coming in that could include Google, Amazon, Netflix, Apple, and others. It's a good way to team up and stay competitive," he added.
ESPN has also been exploring partnerships as it prepares to launch its direct-to-consumer product within the next year or two, seeking to capitalize on the evolving media landscape and changing consumer preferences.
"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," Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger emphasized in a statement.
Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang