Fox Corp, Walt Disney’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery will join together to build a sports streaming platform, the companies have said, in a bid to lure younger viewers who have eschewed television for streaming platforms.
The media companies will form a joint venture to create a new service from their broad portfolio of professional and collegiate sports rights, which span the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Fifa World Cup and college competitions.
“We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place,” said Fox’s chief executive, Lachlan Murdoch.
The yet-to-be-named service – designed to give viewers more choice and not detract from sports networks already in place – would offer an all-in-one package of programming that would include television channels, such as ESPN, TNT and FS1, as well as sports content that is streamed. Subscribers would have the option of purchasing it as part of a streaming bundle from Disney+, Hulu or Max.
“This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other leaders,” the Disney CEO, Bob Iger, said in a statement.
The platform would be made available via a new app, the companies said, adding that the service would have a new brand and an independent management team. The three companies will jointly own the new entity and will have equal board representation and agree to license their sports content on a non-exclusive basis.
Announcement of the new business comes as traditional media outlets are reckoning with major sports – the last TV format that brings in steady ratings and viewers – making the move to streaming services.
The platform capitalizes on the market being created for streaming sports services and gives media companies another way to monetize increasingly costly sports rights.
“This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value,” the Warner Bros Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, said in a statement. (Guardian)