ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery are teaming up to build a new sports streaming service, the companies said Tuesday.
The streaming platform, a joint venture between media giants that typically compete over audience for live sports, will feature all three companies’ sports portfolios. That includes content from major professional sports leagues such as the NFL and the NBA, as well as college sports. The service is expected to launch in the fall, and will be available on a new app, the companies said in a joint statement.
Subscribers will also be able to bundle the service with Disney+, Hulu, and Max. (Disney owns Disney+ and most of Hulu, while Warner Bros. Discovery owns Max.) The joint venture service will give customers access to sports networks including ESPN.
The new service will be run under its own new brand with its own management team, the companies said. Each company will own one-third of the venture, and have equal board representation. The companies will license sports content from their services to the joint venture on a non-exclusive basis.
Details about pricing for the streaming service will be announced later, the companies said. The new venture comes even as legacy media giants like ESPN and Fox have found that live sports are one of the only areas of the traditional TV business that remain resistant to cord-cutting and the migration to streaming services.
ESPN is planning to continue offering its own direct-to-consumer streaming service even after the new joint streaming service launches, CNBC reports.
“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,” Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, which owns ESPN, said in the companies’ joint 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.”
Lachlan Murdoch, the Fox CEO, said the company believes “the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place.”
And David Zaslav, the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, said the new streaming service “exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value.”