The Worldwide Leader in Sports
ESPN (DIS) is the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports” — the Disney-owned channel controls about 30% of all televised or streamed sports in the US. Now, it wants to go a step further.
ESPN is exploring a feature allowing users to link directly to other streaming platforms to find live sporting events. This is a rare instance of competing companies playing nice with one another. In its push to become an authoritative source of sports media, ESPN is showing its open to directing users away from its own platform and toward competitors.
The deal is still in its early stages, with no timeline or official streaming partners having been released. It could include regional services Madison Square Garden’s MSG+ or perhaps even major streamers with sports programming such as Amazon Prime Video (AMZN) and Apple TV+ (AAPL).
ESPN is contemplating a revenue model in which it would take a small percentage of the new subscription revenue it generates for other companies. But, if it refers users who are already subscribed to those platforms, the only value for ESPN would be the valuable service it provided.
Did You Catch the Game?
As the number of streamers has grown, the process of simply turning on a sports game has gotten more confusing.
These days, before a New Yorker can simply flip to the Yankees game, they have to determine if it is streaming on regular TV, ESPN, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Peacock (CMCSA), or another platform. Then, if they don’t happen to have a subscription to each one of those platforms, they have to either purchase one or find a friend who does. And, with Netflix (NFLX) now cracking down on password sharing, who knows how long the latter will even be an option.
ESPN’s proposed hub could make the process of tuning into live sports a lot easier. Instead of hunting through different platforms, you could default to a tried-and-true tactic – flip to ESPN.
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