In recent months, sports media companies have dived headfirst into the over-the-top streaming market, with ESPN unveiling ESPN Plus, Sports Illustrated rolling out SI TV, and CBS debuting CBS Sports HQ. Now Bleacher Report has added itself to the list, announcing a new service called B/R Live that will debut in April and carry thousands of live sporting events.
Per a Turner Sports release, B/R Live will stream events including the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA Championships, PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, The Spring League, Red Bull Global Rallycross, World Armwrestling League and more. The first event streamed on B/R Live will be Johnny Manziel’s debut in The Spring League on April 7.
In a particularly noteworthy feature, the service will allow NBA fans to pay a reduced price to watch portions of in-progress games.
“As viewing habits continue to evolve, Turner is well positioned to provide fans with direct access to premium live sports content that is highly coveted by audiences of scale, including a high concentration of millennials,” Turner president David Levy said in a statement.
“When we first acquired Bleacher Report in 2012, we knew the definition of a network was changing and we anticipated a time when B/R would become a virtual network. Today is a significant step in that direction and we will fully leverage the reach of B/R and its deep connection with passionate sports fans to provide compelling experiences for them across this new, exciting platform.”
NBA. Champs League. NCAA. PGA. Johnny Football’s return. All at your fingertips.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 27, 2018
Bleacher Report has not announced pricing for B/R Live beyond a promise of “flexible pricing options.” SI TV and ESPN Plus both cost $4.99 a month (while CBS Sports HQ is free), and given the amount of content B/R Live will apparently offer, it could probably get away charging more than that, though it’s tough to say for sure without knowing precisely what Bleacher Report’s goals are for the service.
In many ways, a streaming service packed with live events seems like the logical next step for a company that has grown from a largely fan-generated sports commentary network into a multimedia behemoth that produces excellent written journalism as well as massively popular digital video content. Bleacher Report is now plenty big enough to compete with legacy brands such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated and CBS in the emerging OTT arena.