ESPN Reportedly Preparing to Transition to Subscription-Streaming Service

While ESPN+ was launched just about five years ago, the sports network doesn’t appear to be done in streaming just yet. The Wall Street Journal reports that ESPN’s flagship network is preparing to transition into a subscription-based streaming service in the coming years.

  • ESPN, the Disney-owned premier sports television network, appears to be preparing to move from cable into streaming.
  • While the network already has a great deal of content in the stream ESPN+, this move would bring the flagship station to streaming as well.
  • In fact, the internal code name for this move is reportedly “Flagship.”
  • This comes as trends show more and more people moving away from cable television subscriptions and toward streaming subscriptions instead.
  • However, ESPN would continue to offer its flagship network on cable in addition to launching a streaming option.
  • There is also currently no timeline for this potential move.
  • The WSJ goes on to point out that despite the network remaining on cable, it would still have a major impact on cable providers because ESPN is “one of the main attractions of the cable bundle.”
  • ESPN has reportedly been securing some flexibility in their deals with cable providers so that they could eventually offer the channel directly to consumers.
  • The network is also reportedly working on similar deals with major sports leagues, having secured the same flexibility with two of them.
  • ESPN+, which has more than 25 million subscribers, offers a great deal of content but does not offer access to the ESPN channel itself.
  • This move would bring high-value content, like live NBA and NFL games, in addition to ESPN’s popular original programming, to streaming.
  • The WSJ goes on to bring up a quote from Disney CEO Bob Iger earlier this year regarding the state of television and future of streaming:
    • “We’re in a very interesting transition period, but one that I think is inevitably heading toward streaming. [We’re] not going to abandon the linear or the traditional platforms while they can still be a benefit to us and our shareholders.”
Mike Mack
Mack is the Editorial Director for Marvel and ESPN content and he has covered comic cons, theme park events, video game showcases and other fun events. He is a fan of theme parks, sports, movies, Marvel Comics and is a self-proclaimed "nerd."