Credit: Billie Weiss/Baltimore Orioles
Walt Disney’s ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery announced Tuesday, February 6, that the three networks would be teaming up to produce and sell all the sports they televise through a new sports streaming service. This service will cater to avid sports fans who are tired of having to shell out hundreds of dollars a year to fund multiple subscriptions, just to be able to watch their favourite sports.
The yet-to-be-named streaming service set to be formed by these three networks will be available through a new app the companies said, which will cover their broad portfolio of professional and collegiate sports. Namely, the service will include the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the FIFA World Cup, the UFC, the PGA Tour and numerous college competitions.
Fans can expect a launch in the Fall of 2024. The price for the service is yet to be unveiled, however, it will cost much less than having to pay for numerous subscriptions to a multitude of different networks and apps just to have the opportunity to watch the world’s best athletes compete on National stages.
“We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports and content all in one place,” said Fox chief executive, Lachlan Murdoch.
The service will also include numerous television channels, such as ESPN, TNT, FS1, and all sports content that can be streamed. The platform leverages the emerging market for streaming sports services, providing media companies with an additional avenue to capitalize on the growing expenses associated with sports rights.
“This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other leaders,” said Disney CEO, Bob Iger.
Credit: Alberto Pezzali/AP
As the cord-cutting of traditional cable and satellite TV continues to rapidly accelerate, being able to watch live sports has become increasingly complex and expensive, especially since games and leagues have continued to get pushed through individual channels and apps. While this new modern streaming service won’t remove all of the complications for sports fans, games that air on any of these major networks will be available on this platform, offering a seamless and direct connection for fans.
Last year, a Yankees fan living in New York, for example, needed to subscribe to a variety of services to be able to catch all of their games: the YES Network (local games), Apple TV Plus (for Friday Night Baseball), Peacock (for Sunday exclusive games), Amazon’s Prime Video (for certain exclusive games), as well as still keeping a cable package that gets ESPN, TBS, Fox and FS1.
If you’re a Yankees fan and a Knicks fan, you’d have to subscribe to all of those streaming services to watch the Yankees play, while also having to shell out another $100 to watch the Knicks play through NBA League Pass. It’s a huge sum of money for so little in return, which is why the announcement of this new service has sports fans around the world excited for a change.
David Zaslaz, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, said the new service would provide an “unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights and access to the greatest sporting events in the world.”
“This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide customers with more choice, enjoyment and value and we’re thrilled to deliver it to sports fans,” he said.
Credit: Bernard Weil/Toronto Star
With a continuous increase in platforms, services, apps and of course a rise in prices, sports fans are bound to find a way to watch their favourite team compete without having to pay a ridiculous amount to numerous platforms every month or annually. The past few years have seen a dramatic increase in sports piracy, where fans will take to illegal websites which stream any sport, any time, completely free.
Last year in the UK alone, YouGov Sport found through a survey that over 5.1 million adults in England, Scotland and Wales have admitted to watching sports illegally. Considering that those people were the only ones bold enough to admit it, the number is presumably much higher. The rise in piracy is not only a direct result of the trouble sports fans have to go through to watch their favourite team, it simultaneously takes millions of paying viewers away from these platforms.
It seems that Disney’s ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have come to their senses with the realization that not only will this benefit fans, but it will also directly benefit the companies, as fans will be willing to pay for a single service as opposed to subscribing to 5+ services at once. It will also directly impact the piracy issues. If the service is cheap, user-friendly and offers a seamless experience, it will deter users from seeking unreliable, illegal sources for streaming.
Fans should be expecting a streaming service that promises not just convenience and accessibility, but a remarkable value proposition that's set to revolutionize how fans experience their favourite sports.
Edited By: Josh Reidelbach
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