Three major U.S. sports TV companies—ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery—have jointly announced the creation of a streaming venture to consolidate all their linear sports TV content. The move is significant as it aims to attract sports enthusiasts who are increasingly opting out of expensive cable bundles.
- Each company will have an equal one-third ownership stake in the venture and will collaboratively select a management team, establish branding, and determine pricing.
- The new streaming service is slated to launch later this year and will be accessible through a dedicated app developed by a separate team independent of the management of the three companies.
- The standalone subscription streaming service will offer an unprecedented array of live sports content from sports networks affiliated with ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery.
- The primary revenue model will be consumer subscription fees, while each network will retain the ability to sell ads on its networks.
- The joint venture will involve equal board representation from each of the three companies, and they will license their sports content to the venture on a non-exclusive basis.
- The service will include content from linear TV networks such as ESPN, ABC, TNT, and Fox, as well as live sports content from ESPN+.
- All three companies own rights to major professional sports league events, encompassing the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, major college sports divisions, and more.
- The joint venture, initially reported by the Wall Street Journal, has received preliminary agreement from all three companies, pending final negotiations and discussions with distributors.
- The service’s formation is subject to negotiations with distributors, and early discussions with rights holders are underway.
- The move reflects the changing landscape of TV consumption, with live sports being a crucial factor in retaining cable bundles, even as more viewers migrate to streaming platforms.
- While the new joint venture is a collaborative effort, ESPN is also planning to launch its direct-to-consumer service in 2025, a separate initiative confirmed by CEO Bob Iger last year.
- ESPN is currently engaged in discussions with major sports leagues and streaming platforms for potential strategic partnerships.