ESPN to Create Sports Streaming Platform with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery

ESPN is set to partner with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to create a joint streaming platform.

What’s Happening:

  • ESPN, Fox,  and Warner Bros. Discovery have reached an agreement to form a new joint venture and build a new streaming sports service.
  • The platform brings together the companies’ portfolios of sports networks, certain direct-to-consumer sports services and sports rights – including content from all the major professional sports leagues and college sports.
  • However, the formation of the service is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements.
  • The platform is currently scheduled to launch in the fall of 2024 and would be made available directly to consumers via a new app.
  • However, subscribers would also have the ability to bundle the product with Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.
  • Plans call for the platform to aggregate content to offer fans an extensive, dynamic lineup of sports content, aiming to provide a new and differentiated experience to serve sports fans, particularly those outside of the traditional pay TV bundle.
  • By subscribing to this focused, all-in-one premier sports service, fans would have access to the linear sports networks including
    • ESPN
    • ESPN2
    • ESPNU
    • SECN
    • ACCN
    • ABC
    • FOX
    • FS1
    • FS2
    • BTN
    • TNT
    • TBS
    • truTV
    • ESPN+

  • The new service will showcase thousands of high-profile sporting events including Pro Football, Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, College Sports, Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, Cycling, Soccer, Combat Sports, and Auto Sports.
  • Each company (Disney, Fox, and WBD) would own one-third of the joint venture, have equal board representation, and would license their sports content to the joint venture on a non-exclusive basis. Plus, the service would have a new brand with an independent management team.
  • More details (including pricing) will be announced at a later date.
  • The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal ahead of the official announcement.  

What They’re Saying:

  • Bob Iger, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company: “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. 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. 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.”
  • Lachlan Murdoch, Executive Chair and Chief Executive Officer of FOX: “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.”
  • David Zaslav, Chief Executive Officer of Warner Bros. Discovery: “At WBD, our ambition is always to connect our leading content and brands with as many viewers as possible, and this exciting joint venture and the unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights and access to the greatest sporting events in the world allows us to do just that. 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.”

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Kyle Burbank
Kyle is a writer living in Springfield, MO. His deep love of Disney and other pop culture finds its way into his stories, scripts, and tweets. His first book "The E-Ticket Life: Stories, Essays, and Lessons Learned from My Decidedly Disney Travels" is available in paperback and for Kindle.