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ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery Team Up to Offer Joint Sports Streaming Service

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Key Takeaways

  • Walt Disney’s ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery are developing a sports streaming app for U.S. customers.
  • The app will be available in the fall and will offer combined sports offerings, which include professional and college games.
  • Competitors such as Comcast and Apple have seen success with their sports streaming offerings.

Walt Disney’s ESPN (DIS), Fox (FOXA), and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) are teaming up to create a joint sports streaming service that could help them better compete with rivals.

The three entertainment giants agreed to develop a standalone app that will stream sporting events from professional leagues and college sports.

Disney shares were down 0.9% in after-hours trading, while Fox’s Class A shares jumped 3.8% and Warner Bros. Discovery shares were up 2.9%.

What Is the New Service?

The companies said the new streaming service will combine offerings from their traditional broadcast television networks and Disney’s ESPN+ streaming service.

Together, they notably have rights to certain offerings from the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Ultimate Fighting Championship, PGA TOUR Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, and the FIFA World Cup, among others.

The trio expects the app will be available to U.S. customers by fall and will be available as a standalone service or for purchase with Disney+, Hulu, or Max.

Why Are These Companies Partnering?

The move could help the companies compete with the success their counterparts have recently had with streaming sporting events.

Comcast (CMCSA) said last month the stream of the National Football League (NFL) AFC Wild Card Game had 23 million viewers. It was exclusively streamed on Comcast’s Peacock streaming service and was the most broadly watched streaming event in U.S. history, the company said.

Apple (AAPL) has also drawn viewers to its streaming service with sporting events. The company got exclusive rights to Major League Soccer (MLS) for a decade when the company signed a $2.5 billion deal to launch MLS Season Pass last February. The biggest games get up to 1 million viewers, MLS said.

Disney has been looking for options for ESPN since at least July, when CEO Bob Iger said that the entertainment giant wanted to transition the sports network into a streaming platform.

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