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Disney, WBD & Fox Announce Plans For Joint Sports Streaming Service

February 6, 2024 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Disney WBD FOX Image Credit: Disney/WBD/FOX

In a major announcement for sports fans, the trio of Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery & Fox are teaming up to create a new joint sports streaming service. As THR reports, the three companies announced on Tuesday that they will be equal partners in the as-yet-unnamed platform that will combine streaming sports rights and offer live linear channels such as ESPN, ABC, Fox, TNT and TBS. The platform also offer games and other rights from all three companies in a non-exclusive basis, meaning that they will still be able to launch their own offerings.

The companies will each own a third of the new venture, and is contingent on a final agreement though one is set in principle. The service will be available directly to consumers but will also be available as a bundle with Max, ESPN+ and/or Hulu. Pricing has not been determined for the service, which is expected to launch in the fall in time for the 2024 – 2025 NFL season.

THR reports that the service will not impact ESPN’s plans for its direct-to-consumer streaming service and is closer to a targeted bundle of streaming networks focused on sports rights as opposed to entertainment. The platform would have rights to the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college football and basketball, FIFA World Cup, three of the Grand Slam tennis events, the UFC, Formula 1 and NASCAR. It will also make Fox’s live sports offerings available on streaming for the first time.

The deal is potentially significant for wrestling fans as WBD is AEW’s broadcast partner — though to be explicitly clear, nothing in the announcement references AEW or professional wrestling.

“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,” Disney’s Bob Iger said in a statement. “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.”

“We’re pumped to bring the Fox Sports portfolio to this new and exciting platform,” Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said. “We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place.”

“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,” WBD CEO David Zaslav added. “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.”