ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are joining forces to create a new mega-sports streaming service that is set to have its own app. You'll be able to either signup to it as a stand-alone subscription or choose to bundle it with Max, Disney Plus and Hulu.
The service, which hasn't yet been named, promises to bundle content from the NBA, NFL, MLB, UFC, Formula 1, the World Cup and much more. Each of the three partners will own one-third of the new venture and their licences are non-exclusive, so non-subscribers won't find themselves locked out of their favorite sports.
The list of included channels includes:
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- Big Ten Network
There will also be selected content from ESPN Plus, which has rights to the NHL and to German soccer. Could this be the best streaming service for sports? It's too early to tell but the bundling of services is a great sign for reducing the number of subscriptions you have.
Why are Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney on the same team?
According to Disney boss Bob Iger, this "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".
The new service could address one of the big issues around US sports streaming: it's all over the place, with different streamers holding the rights to different sporting leagues. However, it's still not quite one sporting ring to rule them all: it won't have Sunday Night Football or Premier League soccer, and the Super Bowl may stay with CBS.
The new service will launch in the fall of 2024, so it'll be some time before we know what it will cost, especially what the bundle prices might look like. Previous bundles have been priced aggressively, though: when Disney bundled Hulu, ESPN Plus and Disney Plus together back in 2019, the bundle was priced the same as a standard Netflix subscription. Given the size of the new service it'll clearly cost more, but the firms here are still very much playing to win.
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.