Disney’s new ESPN streaming service is launching next year

Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for ESPN

Disney’s bombshell announcement today that it would be building its own branded direct-to-consumer streaming service, and ending its licensing deal with Netflix, came with another nugget of news: the previously announced all-new ESPN streaming service is launching next year. We first heard about this service last year, when Disney acquired a minority stake in BAMTech, the MLB-founded video juggernaut behind many of the most popular sports and TV streaming services.

Now, with Disney announcing a majority stake in BAMTech thanks to a new $1.54 billion investment, the company is preparing to launch a dedicated over-the-top ESPN service. It will be the first time the sports broadcaster has offered an independent, multi-sport service that doesn’t come with its own licensing complications and isn’t tied to an existing third-party service like Sling.

It’s unclear how Disney and ESPN plan to price it, but the service may notably exclude core ESPN programming like SportsCenter, which sounds as if it will remain exclusive to cable subscribers. In a statement, Disney describes the new product in broad terms, confirming that it will include a host of games from every major sports organization in the US and purchasable add-ons for those who closely follow individual sports like baseball, hockey, and soccer:

The ESPN-branded multi-sport service will offer a robust array of sports programming, featuring approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events a year, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, and college sports. Individual sport packages will also be available for purchase, including MLB.TV, NHL.TV and MLS Live.

Disney says the service won’t be spun out into a new app, but rather it will live inside the existing ESPN app, which is accessible on a number of devices like smartphones, game consoles, and streaming TV boxes. The company says those who pay for cable will be able to access additional content, like direct feeds of ESPN’s live cable broadcasts, by authenticating through a provider. “For many sports fans, this app will become the premier digital destination for all their sports content,” the statement reads.

Comments

Tidal says, "Good luck with this."

but the service may notably exclude core ESPN programming like SportsCenter

That sounds like a perk to me!

If it’s seriously just live games and is like $10 a month it’s a winner. Even if it’s $15 it’ll still probably be successful. It can’t be more than $20 because that’s what Sling Orange is.

I just want a la carte sports. I would like it if I could pick the sports/teams I want to follow and those games/races were in a queue waiting for me when I logged in. Is that too much?

Yes, because not many people are going to watch the Miami Marlins, Stoke City, Jacksonville Jaguars etc…

Will this be US only? Cable company in rural central América it’s basically piracy, and they don’t have an auth system for customers. If ESPN allows me to pay 15$ a month for sports. I will totally do it. And I can Imagine them making huge money out of it. Roja Directa streams sucks.

ESPN has not shown that they can do streaming well.

BAMTech is excellent at streaming, I imagine they saw their weakness and invested in a solid platform instead of continuing as-is.

This sounds like an inflated and confusing app. Free basic ESPN stuff included in the app. Some content included with the paid streaming tier. A third level of content if the user already has a cable subscription through Comcast, DirecTV, etc.

No thanks, would rather they just go under as they are.

Why? How does it benefit you or anyone else?

Oh boy, does this mean ESPN will also be removed from services like Sling and PS Vue? It’s already a damn headache as a NFL fan trying to cut the cord with the stupid packages the streaming services use (Sling, especially, splitting the NFL channels equally between their two packages, forcing you to buy both while they pretend you have "choice").

Cable continues to be the better choice for me, and it’s a TERRIBLE choice. Every NFL season, I’m basically paying $60 to watch Redzone + Thursday Night + Monday Night football games. $55 if I want to deal with the terrible reliability of cord cutting services. It just baffles me that there still isn’t a sensible way of watching/streaming live tv. I know the long held argument is that they package ten zillion channels to pay for those 9 zillion channels you never actually watch…but wtf….if no one actually watches those 9 zillion channels that are packaged with the channels we all actually watch…why in the world are those channels in "business" at all!?? And, if they weren’t in business, and there didn’t need to be infrastructure to support all those channels no one really wants and all the overhead that must create…maybe we could actually get a la carte tv where we choose what we want to pay for at a reasonable price!

It’s so damn weird. I’d love to see an investigative journalist unravel this all and show us exactly why tv is the way it is. Because, from the outside looking in…it’s almost like non-network tv is some form of socialized entertainment or something. lol.

As long as their are no blackouts!!

….

(Who am i kidding, of course they’ll be blackouts.)
Industry hasn’t changed that much.

NFL not on board then its a non-starter for most sports. Unless ESPN can get the Sunday night game an local team. I doubt it though.

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