Media Giants Fox Corp, Disney, and Warner Bros Discovery to Launch Sports Streaming Service

Fox Corp, Walt Disney’s ESPN, and Warner Bros Discovery, announced plans on Tuesday to join forces in launching a new sports streaming service set to debut later this autumn.
FIFA 2014 fans with phonesPooling together their extensive portfolio of professional and collegiate sports rights, including coverage of leagues such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, FIFA World Cup, and college competitions, the media conglomerates will establish a joint venture to introduce the yet-to-be-named streaming platform.

The move is aimed at attracting younger audiences shifting away from traditional television. The move indicates that Fox Corp, Walt Disney’s ESPN, and Warner Bros Discovery do not want to compete each other in the sports streaming business.

S&P Global estimates that the US TV and streaming sports media rights payments will grow to more than $30 billion in 2025 from $25.57 billion in 2023 across broadcast, cable, RSNs and streaming services.

The video streaming service is envisioned to provide a comprehensive package of programming, combining television channels such as ESPN, TNT, and FS1 with streamed sports content. Subscribers will have the flexibility to access the service as part of a streaming bundle through Disney+, Hulu, or Max.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said: “This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other leaders, underlining the breadth of content that will be offered through the collaboration.”

Contrary to replacing traditional networks like ESPN and FS1, the primary aim of the sports-centric service is to expand consumer choice, Reuters news report said.

Fox Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch expressed confidence in the new venture’s ability to cater to passionate sports fans beyond the confines of traditional cable bundles.

The joint venture will be equally owned by the three media giants, with each company having equal representation on the board. Sports content will be licensed on a non-exclusive basis, with an independent management team overseeing operations.

Recognizing the growing demand for sports content beyond traditional TV, the launch of this streaming service underscores the industry’s acknowledgment of this trend and its efforts to capitalize on the burgeoning market.

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav hailed the initiative as a testament to the industry’s commitment to innovation and enhancing consumer experience.

The move aligns with Walt Disney’s previous statements about exploring strategic partnerships for ESPN’s online expansion.

Investor Nelson Peltz has suggested that bundling ESPN+ with a larger sports-focused player could enhance Disney’s streaming profitability, reflecting the ongoing evolution of the media landscape.

As the media landscape continues to evolve, the collaboration between Fox Corp, Disney, and Warner Bros Discovery underscores a strategic response to changing consumer preferences and sets the stage for a new era in sports streaming.