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ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to launch new joint sports streaming service

ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery to launch new joint sports streaming service

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ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery will form a new joint venture to develop, launch and operate a new sports streaming service, according to a statement by The Walt Disney Company. 

The platform brings together the companies' portfolios of sports networks and certain direct-to-consumer (DTC) sports content and services.

Some of their broad portfolio of sports networks include professional and collegiate sports rights such as the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, FIFA World Cup and college competitions.

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The service, though currently unnamed, is set to launch in the fall of 2024 in the US, and will be made available via a new app.

It will also offer an all-in-one premier sports service that will include television channels such as ESPN, FS1, TNT, truTV, as well as ESPN+ amongst many others. 

Subscribers will also have the ability to bundle the product with Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.

“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 Bob Iger, chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Company.

Lachlan Murdoch, executive chair and chief executive officer of FOX said, “We believe the service will provide passionate fans outside of the traditional bundle an array of amazing sports content all in one place.” 

David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery added, "This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value and we’re thrilled to deliver it to sports fans.”

The announcement of the joint venture comes as ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery are preparing to enter negotiations to renew their National Basketball Association's (NBA) rights. 

According to CNBC in October last year, media companies such as Comcast, YouTube TV, Amazon, Apple and Netflix may challenge or join the incumbents as right holders. 

The media rights renewal for NBA is a considerably important event as it only happens once a decade. The last rights deal was announced in 2014, and is expected to end after the 2024-2025 NBA season. 

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