‘Spulu’ no more: Mega sports streamer named ‘Venu’

After months being jokingly referred to as “Spulu,” the Warner Bros. DiscoveryDisneyFox sports streaming joint venture finally has a name and logo.

“We are excited to officially introduce Venu Sports, a brand that we feel captures the spirit of an all-new streaming home where sports fans outside of the traditional pay TV eco-system can experience an incredible collection of live sports, all in one place,” Pete Distad, CEO of Venu Sports, said in a statement.

The name is presumably meant to refer to “venue” — as in the location of a sports or other type of event, with the “e” dropped off the end to create a unique — and perhaps trademark-able — word.

Shortening the name by one letter also could help make it easier to transform the logo into an app icon without making the lettering too hard to read.

The name is essentially a synonym for some other spots media ventures — such as Stadium Sports Network and the European Arena Sport. It also has some similarities to Google’s Stadia cloud gaming service that shut down in 2023.

“Venu” has the advantage of not being specific to any specific sport — such as matchups that might be played in a stadium or arena. It also largely avoids any specific mention of words such as “court,” “field” or “diamond,” which are often sport-specific words. It also has the advantage of still making sens within other areas such as eSports, betting and even off-beat sports since almost every type of sport is typically played in a venue or some type.

It’s also worth noting that “Venu” and the spelling also could be a nod to the word “menu,” which along with “venue,” suggest a wide variety of different types of content to pick from.

For its logo, Venu released a dark blue and orange look using curved lettering to spell out the four letters in the primary wordmark. 

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It is possible, however, that this initial logo and branding elements such as colors could end up changing by the planned fall 2024 launch.

Detail of ‘Venu’ part of logotype.

The strokes have a flowing sense to them with all turns featuring a smooth, rounded corner. The “e” in the name is also drawn more like a lowercase character but at full height and with its stroke thickness matched to the others. It’s also set at an angle, likely to suggest forward movement.

Here again, the general sense of motion and movement could be connected to a large number of sports. The overall design widely avoids any specific icons or glyphs trying to illustrate specific sports.

Detail of the ‘Sports’ sans serif part of the logo with its distinctive ‘R.’

The logo also includes the word “sports” set in widely-spaced sans serif below featuring a distinctive “R” with a unique right leg.

Venu is using Arillatype Studio’s At Aero font for this secondary typeface. 

The design notably avoids looking blatantly like any one of the three partners’ properties, though the rounded corners of the letters might tickle some brains as a bit like parts of WBD’s CNN logo or Disney’s ESPN logo — though it’s doubtful anyone would mistake them for each other outright.

The color palette, meanwhile, doesn’t necessarily look like anything the JV’s portfolio, but it does have some striking similarities to the recently-redesigned logo and brand look for Nexstar’s The CW, which uses a bright orange it calls “the hot sauce.”

The CW logo appears to use a shade with an RGB value of 255, 75, 12 (HSB 16%, 95%, 100%) while Venu’s is 255, 78, 0 and 18%, 100%, 100%, respectively, at least based on sampling take from each brand’s site which may not be fully in line with the official colors but are likely close.

That literally means Venu’s logo is slightly bluer and very slightly greener, but these differences are so little that they are almost distinguishable to most eyes.

The two brands also appear to use dark backgrounds in many cases, though the Venu one is more blue than black (though the difference becomes harder to spot when side-by-side). The CW’s palette is also full other other options, including a frequently-used pink. It’s not clear what Venu’s full palette is yet.

The JV has managed to snap up both venu.com and venuesports.com. It also has @venu on most major social media platforms, though there does appear to be at least one conflict with the handle @venusports, with an X account apparently registered to a (planned?) sports app called “VenU” that has not posted since 2017.

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Should consumers misspell the name as “venue,” there are other brands and sites using some of those domain and handle spaces.

Venu’s website, meanwhile, has been updated with a bare bones look that does include one animated element that might hint at where the brand’s look is heading.

In it, an orange band that doubles as a frame for video, twists around and changes shapes as a repeating Venu logo scrolls by ticker-style. It appears to have slightly curved corners, much like the logo, and also renders the logo slightly blurrier when it is farther away from the viewer’s perspective.

The shape of the frame also changes to roughly resemble the footprint of each sport’s playing “venue” — such whether it’s a baseball field, hockey rink, basketball court or football field.

For months, the industry has jokingly been called the JV “Spulu,” a nod to the fact that some see it as the Hulu of sports. 

The joint venture, which is hoping to launch later in 2024, will bundle linear feeds of ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, SECN, ACCN, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS and truTV. Pricing has not been announced.

Disney, meanwhile, is still planning a separate ESPN standalone streaming offering for 2025.