ESPN New Streaming Service Will Fill a Void, But More is Needed
It has been known ESPN was in the midst of developing its own streaming service since last year, when Disney, its parent company, acquired a share of 33% in BAMtech, a company specializing in streaming video that was created in 2015 by Major League Baseball.
Disney on Tuesday announced it will exercised the option it has to pay $1.59 billion for 42% more of the company giving it a majority stake but even more important, giving ESPN all important means to introducing its own over the top service starting early in 2018.
It is a big step for the sports network, which has watched its lucrative subscriber base on cable-TV wither away thanks to cord cutting while rights fees for the four major sports in the U.S. have surged in cost.
This drop in revenue sparked cost cutting demands by Disney, which made ESPN cut jobs for over 100 personalities on television along with online journalists, its second big round of job cuts over the past two years.
The new service for ESPN will give it an additional revenue stream, which is something it can offer the growing number of cord cutters who stop paying for their cable and thus are not paying to watch ESPN.
ESPN has not yet made an announcement related to the specifics of the new service, namely the price it will cost, but based upon the Tuesday news release it issued and statements made previously from a number of executives, the following can be expected when the service becomes live.
Access will be available to MLB games that are out of market thanks to Disney now holding a majority stake in BAMtech, the service that operates a subscription service for MLB.TV.
In addition, you can expect NHL and MLS out of market games and matches through BAMtech due to the service having a live streaming service for both the NHL and MLS.
NCAA games with multiple sports telecast from different conferences that ESPN has rights agreements with but are not broadcast on any cable channels of ESPN.
Tennis’ Grand Slam matches will also be available.
Streaming service subscribers will also have the opportunity to buy standalone NHL, MLS and MLB packages, said a news release by ESPN.
What will not be included in the new service unless the subscriber continues to pay for ESPN’s offerings on television are NFL games, as well as NBA games and anything else that is broadcast on the multiple broadcast channels of ESPN.