ESPN, Fox, Warner Bros. Discovery unite to launch sports streaming service

By NewscastStudio

ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have announced their intent to form a joint venture to launch a comprehensive streaming sports service in the U.S.

The service, poised to bring an expansive collection of sports content directly to consumers, underscores the evolving landscape of sports broadcasting and the growing preference for direct-to-consumer offerings.

The proposed streaming platform will consolidate linear sports networks and specific direct-to-consumer sports services, including ESPN+.

Since its announcement, the potential service has been given the tongue-in-cheek name “Spulu,” a mashup of “sports” and “Hulu,” though there is no indication this will be its official name.

It is designed to cater to the needs of the passionate sports fan, offering a broad spectrum of content that spans major professional leagues such as the NFL, NBA, WNBA, MLB, NHL, and NASCAR, alongside college sports, UFC, PGA TOUR Golf, Grand Slam Tennis, the FIFA World Cup, cycling and more.

Set to debut in the fall of 2024, the service aims to deliver a unique and differentiated experience by providing access to a wide array of sports content through a newly developed app.

Specific pricing details have not been announced. 

The initiative reflects a significant move by the involved parties to cater to audiences outside the traditional pay TV bundle, offering a potential bundled product that could include Disney+, Hulu and Max.

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Ownership of the joint venture will be equally divided among ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, with each entity having equal board representation and licensing their sports content to the joint venture on a non-exclusive basis.

“The launch of this new streaming sports service is a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business. This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service. I’m grateful to Jimmy Pitaro and the team at ESPN, who are at the forefront of innovating on behalf of consumers to create new offerings with more choice and greater value,” said Bob Iger, CEO, The Walt Disney Company, in a statement.

“At WBD, our ambition is always to connect our leading content and brands with as many viewers as possible, and this exciting joint venture and the unparalleled combination of marquee sports rights and access to the greatest sporting events in the world allows us to do just that. This new sports service exemplifies our ability as an industry to drive innovation and provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value and we’re thrilled to deliver it to sports fans,” said David Zaslav, CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery in the statement.