Did Walmart Just Leak That ESPN Will Be Selling WatchESPN Subscriptions?




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Walmart has begun putting up ads encouraging people to cancel cable. Part of the ad includes a line that tells people to “Buy the apps you want” next to the WatchESPN logo. Does this mean that WatchESPN subscriptions will be available to cord cutters soon? This would not be the first time a big announcement was leaked in an ad like this.

Here is the full ad:

What makes us think it is very possible that this is an early leak of an upcoming WatchESPN subscription service is the device part of the ad:

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Only Roku and Chromecast are listed, leading us to believe that these are a paid placement. This would explain why the Nexus Player and the Fire TV are not listed, yet sit right next to the display ad.  Often major retailers charge for the ability to be listed in an ad like that next to your product. It would be unlikely that they would charge Roku and Chromecast, but not charge Netflix, Hulu Plus and WatchESPN.

All the other services listed are available with subscriptions. HBO GO is also listed, but that is available in the form of HBO Now.

There are only three possibilities as to why this is here:

  1. WatchESPN will soon be available for sale to cord cutters
  2. This is to show that it is available through Sling TV
  3. Someone at Walmart created the ad without knowing that WatchESPN was cable only.

We consider #3 unlikely because a big national ad campaign like this would be vetted through many different layers of review. #2 is possible, but why would Sling TV pay to promote WatchESPN without having it linked to their service? So we are left with #1 and should be hearing something soon from Disney about the service.

While there is no way to know for sure, we would not be surprised to see an official announcement from Disney that cord cutters will soon be able to buy access to WatchESPN.

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