ESPN+ added 1.7 million new subscribers for Q2 2021, reaching a total of 13.8 million subscribers.
“We’re pleased to see more encouraging signs of recovery across our businesses, and we remain focused on ramping up our operations while also fueling long-term growth for the Company,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “This is clearly reflected in the reopening of our theme parks and resorts, increased production at our studios, the continued success of our streaming services, and the expansion of our unrivaled portfolio of multiyear sports rights deals for ESPN and ESPN+.”
Along with increased subscriber numbers for the streaming service, Disney also announced a deal with MLB for a long-term, wide-ranging rights extension for ESPN. With the deal, ESPN will exclusively air 30 regular season games each year, including 25 editions of Sunday Night Baseball, the national MLB game of the week, and the MLB Little League Classic. ESPN will also get exclusive rights to five additional games each season, including the national Opening Night telecast. ESPN will continue to exclusively carry the Home Run Derby. ESPN will have the option to simulcast ESPN and ABC games on ESPN+.
The deal also includes rights to create original MLB content for ESPN. The streaming service will also continue to televise a Major League Baseball game, subject to local blackout restrictions, nearly every day of the regular season, as well as select Spring Training coverage.
“ESPN’s longstanding relationship with Major League Baseball has been a driver of innovation for three decades. This agreement solidifies Baseball’s ubiquitous presence across ESPN platforms, including ESPN+. The impactful collection of exclusive content, including Sunday Night Baseball which has served as the signature MLB series for more than 30 years, will be amplified by the surrounding rights we have to make these live events even bigger. We thank Commissioner Manfred and the MLB ownership group for their partnership and commitment as we collectively uncover new ways to serve fans.”