Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN, Fox Corp., and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. are joining forces to launch a sports-focused streaming service that will feature major college and pro games usually seen only on traditional TV.
The service will be one-third owned by each company. Pricing and a name for the service have yet to be determined. They expect to launch the new service by fall 2024, according to a statement Tuesday.
According to an ESPN release, the new platform would be a brand new app, and “would aggregate content to offer fans an extensive, dynamic lineup of sports content, aiming to provide a new and differentiated experience to serve sports fans, particularly those outside of the traditional pay TV bundle.”
On the platform, viewers would have access to sports programming on all these linear networks: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNews, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, TNT, TBS, truTV, as well as ESPN+. The aim is to draw in viewers who don’t subscribe to a pay-television bundle — and offer them all of the sports that come with such a package.
The ESPN release touted some of the sports that would be featured on the service, including NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, Formula 1, college sports including the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments, UFC, PGA Tour, Grand Slam tennis, MLS, NWSL, US soccer, and the FIFA World Cup, cycling, “and much more.”
With Wednesday’s announcement, three legacy media giants are taking their biggest, most-expensive sports programming online. As part of the announcement, the parties said subscribers would be able to bundle the service with others, including Disney+, Hulu and Max.
Major sports have been moving to streaming services. Amazon.com Inc. carries the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package. Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube recently purchased football’s Sunday Ticket.