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Disney, Fox, Warner Bros Discovery to create joint sports streaming platform

Photo of Sports Streaming
A 3D printed Disney logo is seen in front of the ESPN+ logo in this illustration taken on July 13, 2021. (REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)
Staff Reports | REUTERS

Fox Corp, Walt Disney’s ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery said on Tuesday they were set to release a sports streaming platform later this year, in a bid to capture younger audiences and save costs.

The media behemoths own a broad portfolio of sports rights including those for FIFA World Cup, Formula 1 and National Football League, which present an opportunity to reach a younger audience.

The CEOs have been discussing a collaboration for some time, one person with knowledge of the situation said.

The platform would be made available via a new app, the companies said, adding that the service would have a new brand and an independent management team.

The new app is a recognition that there is an increasingly large market for sports outside of traditional TV. This platform is designed to address that market.

The product will bring sports linear networks and Disney’s direct-to-consumer ESPN+ together, the statement said.

Formation of the streaming platform, scheduled to launch in the fall of 2024, is subject to negotiation of agreements among the companies, they said.

Early last year, Iger had suggested that Walt Disney wants to keep ESPN and will look for strategic partners to form a joint venture or buy a stake in the sports network to help take it directly to consumers.

Activist investor Nelson Peltz believes Disney can achieve profitability in streaming by bundling its ESPN+ online service with a larger player interested in sports, according to media reports from last month.

Editor’s Note: Reporting by Akash Sriram, Arsheeya Bajwa in Bengaluru and Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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