(Editor’s note: This story first published at USATODAY.com, part of the USA TODAY Network.)
In a major move for streaming TV, three of the largest media companies are teaming up for a joint venture that will offer access to a dozen major-league sports.
Disney’s ESPN (which currently has the rights to UFC events and content in the United States through the end of the 2025), Fox Corp.’s Fox Sports and Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT, TBS and other networks will offer a comprehensive package later this year that includes NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL games.
Each company will own a third of the service, which does not yet have a name, pricing information or a specific launch date, and is subject to finalizing agreements. But it’s a further acknowledgment of the splintering of the cable bundle ad more consumers gravitate to streaming.
Sports has been one of the pillars holding together the cable TV industry, which has lost more than 25 percent of its subscriber base over the last several years.
“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,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger, in a statement. Disney has been mulling plans to create a standalone ESPN streaming service (the current ESPN+ lacks rights to major sports), and the new agreement does not appear to prevent it from doing so in the future.
Story written by Gary Levin
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