Set to debut in the autumn of 2024, the offering will be directly accessible to consumers through a newly developed app.
ESPN, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, FOX and Warner Bros. Discovery have agreed to make a new Joint Venture (JV) to start a new platform for streaming sports service.
The platform brings together the companies’ portfolios of sports networks, certain direct-to-consumer (DTC) sports services and sports rights – including content from all the major professional sports leagues and college sports. The creation of the pay service is contingent upon the negotiation and finalisation of definitive agreements among the involved parties.
The new platform is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2024 and it would be made available directly to consumers via a new app. Subscribers would also have the ability to bundle the product, including Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.
The platform intends to consolidate content, delivering an expansive and dynamic array of sports content for sports enthusiasts, especially those beyond the conventional pay TV package. Subscribers to this specialised, all-inclusive premier sports service will have access to linear sports networks such as ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, ABC, FOX, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV, alongside ESPN+.
Each entity will hold a one-third stake in the joint venture (JV), ensuring equal board representation, and will license their sports content to the JV on a non-exclusive basis. The service will be introduced under a new brand, featuring an independent management team.
Bob Iger, chief executive officer, The Walt Disney Company, said, “The launch of this new streaming sports service is a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business. This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service. I’m grateful to Jimmy Pitaro and the team at ESPN, who are at the forefront of innovating on behalf of consumers to create new offerings with more choice and greater value.”
Lachlan Murdoch, executive chair and chief executive officer, FOX, added, “We’re pumped to bring the FOX Sports portfolio to this new and exciting platform. We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place.”
David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery, stated, “At WBD, our ambition is always to connect our leading content and brands with as many viewers as possible, and this exciting joint venture and the unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights and access to the greatest sporting events in the world allows us to do just that. This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value and we’re thrilled to deliver it to sports fans.”