ESPN, Fox, Warner To Team Up This Fall On Sports Streaming Deal

The plan includes ESPN and other linear sports networks. Separately, ESPN eyes next year for its own direct-to-consumer launch.

Variety of sport accessories on wooden surface.
(Image credit: Andrew Popov / Getty Images)

Sports fans will have a bundle of decisions to make starting this fall when ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. debut a joint sports streaming platform, roughly a year before ESPN plans to launch a separate direct-to-consumer (DTC) service.

The joint streaming platform, which so far is an understanding among the three to form the joint venture, will combine their sports network portfolios into a single platform that will be available via a new standalone app, the media giants said in a joint statement. Existing subscribers to Disney Plus, Hulu and/or Max will also be able to bundle the product, the companies said.

They did not disclose the subscription cost but said that pricing will be announced at a later date and that the service is subject to their negotiation of definitive agreements. According to a February 7 CNBC report citing undisclosed sources, the service will cost more than $30 per month.

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The platform will include ESPN, ESPN Plus, ABC, FOX, FS1, TNT and TBS and will feature content from all major professional sports leagues and college sports, including NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, UFC, PGA Tour Golf and UFC, the companies said.

“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,” said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of ESPN. “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.”

Another ESPN launch to come 

Separately, ESPN plans to launch its flagship DTC service in August or the fall of 2025, Iger said in a February 7 interview with CNBC

The service will include all of ESPN’s programming as well as an integration with ESPN’s fantasy platforms and ESPN Bet. The cost of the service was not announced, CNBC said.

When asked if the DTC service would cannibalize ESPN's joint service with Fox and Warner Bros., Iger told CNBC that the two platforms would have differentiated offerings for sports fans.

Too many streaming options?

If you and your wallet are feeling overwhelmed by too many streaming options for too much money, you're not alone. Streaming service subscribers are increasingly walking away from pricey services, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.

Even so, there are a number of ways to save on streaming, as Kiplinger's guide to streaming services points out. These include taking advantage of limited-time free trial offers.

Just don’t forget to cancel before the bill is due.

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Joey Solitro

Joey Solitro is a freelance financial journalist at Kiplinger with more than a decade of experience. A longtime equity analyst, Joey has covered a range of industries for media outlets including The Motley Fool, Seeking Alpha, Market Realist, and TipRanks. Joey holds a bachelor's degree in business administration.