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A Big New Sports Streaming Service Is Coming This Year

The existing streaming services for sports were simply not enough. In what could be one of the biggest developments in the streaming space this year, a new service devoted to sports is coming from Warner Bros. Discovery, the Fox Corporation, and the Walt Disney Company. Each member of the triad will own a third of the joint venture, and the forthcoming service — which will feature a raft of live games and events that one previously needed a cable log-in to watch — is expected to launch as a new app in fall 2024. It will also be available to subscribers of the existing streaming services ESPN+, Hulu, and Max as some sort of bundle, but specific details — like how much the thing will cost or what it will be called (Sports+?) — have not yet been disclosed.

“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,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement that also included Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch. It will include weekly NFL games (including Monday Night Football) alongside the NBA, MLB, hockey, and tennis grand slams like Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Oh, also: soccer leagues, college sports, golf, UFC, auto racing. Will it convince you to cancel your cable subscription and pony up for yet another streaming service? Time will tell.

There’s another potential upside to this app, according to a source familiar with the matter: Though this probably won’t be touted in the service’s marketing, it won’t just have sports. The app is expected to carry full livestreams of all the included cable and broadcast channels — which means people will also get access to those networks’ non-sports content as well. So, subscribers would be able to watch primetime Fox programming like The Simpsons or reruns of Big Bang Theory on TBS in addition to F1 racing. In a sense, it’s a mini–cable bundle.

The strategy might seem familiar — it’s a template already in use by Comcast and Paramount Global. Both offer cord-cutters access to the NFL games on NBC and CBS, respectively, by offering the live, local feeds of those networks’ affiliates to customers who subscribe to the ad-free levels of Peacock and Paramount+.

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