Add a litany of tech companies to the list of possible “strategic partners” for ESPN.

Per the New York Post, Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Verizon, and T-Mobile are among the companies “on the radar” for ESPN.

The Post reports that the tech companies are being targeted in order “to improve distribution” once ESPN finally launches a direct-to-consumer offering for ESPN’s linear networks. The tide has been turning on an ESPN DTC offering over the last year, with the latest reports indicating that a service would launch in 2025 or 2026.

The reporting about ESPN’s “strategic partners” has been all over the map since Disney CEO Bob Iger’s comments about seeking one in July. Two weeks ago, one report was pessimistic about tech companies and was more optimistic about private equity firms investing. Later that week, another report indicated that ESPN held discussions with pro sports leagues, including the NFL and NBA, about partnering up.

And now, we’ve come full circle with the links to tech companies. Ultimately, I think private equity and tech companies are the more likely options for a “strategic partner” than a pro league due to the economics involved in investing in ESPN, but the good news for Disney is that there doesn’t seem to be a lack of interested parties if it goes down this route.

The process of striking a deal will likely take months, and perhaps longer, so expect the slow trickle of news about potential “strategic partners” to continue over the rest of the summer and into the fall.

[New York Post]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.