In a move that will shake up the live sports streaming landscape, ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery are launching a new sports streaming platform that will include games from the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, College Sports, UFC, PGA TOUR Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, the FIFA World Cup, cycling and more.
The joint venture, with each entity controlling an equal third, is thought to help consolidate the sports streaming market which is currently very fragmented, with certain streaming services showing certain leagues or sometimes even just a handful of games.
The currently unnamed sports streaming offering which will be offered through a new app being developed by the companies, is expected to be launched in the fall of 2024. Subscribers can bundle the product, including with Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.
Subscribing to the all-in-one sports streaming service will give consumers access to sports networks including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, ABC, FOX, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV, as well as ESPN+.
According to the companies, the service will also have an entirely new brand with an independent management team.
The news may come as a welcome sight to sports fans, as the sports streaming market is currently fragmented, confusing and spread across many streaming services and apps.
A CEDIA Expo 2023 panel shed light on these issues, with executives from Paramount+ and Peacock, the streaming affiliates of CBS and NBC, respectively. The panel, which also included Walt Zerbe, senior director of technology and standards for CEDIA and Tom Doherty, director of new technology initiatives at Home Technology Specialists of America, concluded that integrators can play an important role as content curators and help sports fans find the content they want to watch.
Joint ESPN, Fox, Warner Bros. sports streaming service will include key major events, leagues
The joint venture streaming service will feature a wide array of live sports, including games from all of the major U.S. sports leagues, thousands of games from multiple college sports across nearly two dozen conferences, including men’s and women’s college basketball (regular season and March Madness), NCAA Championship events, and the College Football Playoff.
Notably, the service will also feature soccer, including the FIFA World Cup, U.S. Soccer NWSL, Major League Soccer, LALIGA, Bundesliga, UEFA and CONCACAF.
Disney CEO Bob Iger, who also oversees subsidiary ESPN, calls the new streaming service a “major win” for sports fans.
“This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service,” Iger says. “I’m grateful to Jimmy Pitaro and the team at ESPN, who are at the forefront of innovating on behalf of consumers to create new offerings with more choice and greater value.”
David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, called the joint venture an “unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights” offering access to the greatest sporting events in the world.
“This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value and we’re thrilled to deliver it to sports fans,” Zaslav says.
Lachlan Murdoch, executive chair and CEO of Fox 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.”
If you enjoyed this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our digital newsletters!