As their competitors make power moves in the sports streaming space, the parent companies of ESPN, Fox Sports and TNT Sports are reportedly bundling their inventory for a combined sports streaming app.
Per Joe Flint and Isabella Simonetti of the Wall Street Journal, the new app will be available to anyone already subscribed to Disney+, Hulu or Max. Each parent company will own one-third of the joint venture.
In the past month alone, Peacock and NBC Universal flexed the most streaming viewers ever for a live event during the NFL playoffs. Netflix signed on to broadcast WWE’s Monday Night Raw starting next year.
At the same time, both ESPN and parent Disney as well as Warner Bros. Discovery are pursuing NBA rights for a new package starting next year. WBD recently rolled out a Bleacher Report Sports add-on package for its Max platform with a free trial reportedly through the fall.
While these efforts will continue to stabilize distressed streaming businesses for these massive media companies, they will also team up on this new platform. Sports fans will now be able to stream “America’s Game of the Week” on Fox on Sunday afternoons as well as Monday Night Football on the same app. Daytime viewers will likely be able to flip between Stephen A. Smith on First Take and Colin Cowherd on The Herd in one place. Every MLB postseason game could be available together.
The initial WSJ report did not indicate a launch date for the new product. The ripple effects on previously reported deals is also uncertain.
Is a partnership between NBC and TNT Sports to broadcast NBA games now dead? Will Fox (finally) move some of its games to streaming? How does this affect Paramount Global’s partnership with WBD in the NCAA tournament? And what portion of ESPN content will be available on this joint platform once ESPN goes direct to consumer, likely in 2025?
To kick off a year in which more bundling and acquisitions were promised, this is a huge domino.