This week Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced a partnership that would see a new sports-focused TV streaming service launch this fall. This service would offer 14 live channels of sports, including ESPN, BTN, FOX Sports, and sports from TNT—to name a few. This would address one of the main complaints of streaming services—the need to switch between apps to see all the games.
Details are still thin: We don’t know the pricing, terms, or whether this will include a live feed of TNT or just sporting events from TNT similar to the sports package on Max.
This new service will be available through ESPN+, Max, and reportedly other services. Beyond that little is known. As the companies say more, details will be announced.
This puts cable TV companies and even streaming services in a tough spot. The majority of the top 100 most watched programs in 2023 were sporting events. If suddenly there is a less expensive sports-only streaming service, it may be enough to pull many Americans away from both cable TV and services like YouTube TV.
This week at its earnings call, the FOX CEO said it is still committed to its existing partners but says it sees this joint venture as a way to open a new market for them.
The question now is will this new market speed up cord cutting to a point that that cable TV dies far faster than expected. Sports is now the number one reason most people still subscribe to cable TV.
Still, this new streaming service has issues. NBCUniversal and Paramount are not part of it. Although subscriptions to Peacock and Paramount+ would bring you most of the missing sporting events. An antenna could also bring you games aired on local TV for free.
It is possible that before or after launch a deal with Paramount and NBCUniversal could be reached to add their content.
We will have to wait to see the full details of this streaming service. Something cable TV executives are also likely watching very closely.