Warner Bros. Discovery is taking big step in the burgeoning world of live sports on streaming services with the launch of its Bleacher Report Sports add-on tier on Max, which will be available to everyone starting tomorrow.
The tier will stream the same games that appear on TNT and TBS, which include action from the MLB, NHL, NBA, U.S. Soccer and the NCAA March Madness tournament. While sports fan will be able enjoy access for free through February, the add-on will cost $9.99 a month after.
The Bleacher Report Sports add-on marks Warner Bros. Discovery’s boldest move yet to make its Max streaming service both more relevant to audiences and more profitable for the company. Max, even when it was known as HBO Max under AT&T, has been firmly entrenched in the lower tier of subscription streaming services, considered more of a nice-to-have vs. a must-have like Netflix.
But Warner Bros. Discovery is hoping to change that by pushing the live element, something that’s largely been the domain of cable TV and more traditional bundles. Last week, it launched CNN Max, its live streaming news service.
Not everyone is thrilled about this development. DirecTV on Tuesday warned that CNN Max could violate its contract, since a lot of the programming is similar to what can be found on the pay TV version of CNN. Warner Bros. Discovery offering the same games that air on TNT and TBS, two major networks in the cable lineup, can’t make DirecTV any happier.
But for consumers, and especially Max users, this is a real boon — particularly for the next few months. This next stretch will serve as a good test of whether customers enjoy the experience enough to fork over another $9.99 for the add-on, with March Madness a potential big draw.