How new sports streaming service could affect NFL broadcasting rights


Highlights ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. are teaming up to launch a joint sports streaming service, shaking up the future of TV sports.
Competitors may raise concerns about a possible monopoly, leading to legislative issues regarding the partnership.
The sports streaming service will include content from ESPN, Fox, TNT, and more, and is set to be released later in 2024.
The means by which NFL fans (all sports fans, for that matter) watch games has been changing rapidly over the last decade as more and more viewers “cut the cord” and move to streaming-only models. If recent reports are accurate, that trend isn’t likely to change anytime soon.
With all of ESPN, Fox, and Warner Brothers reportedly part of this sports media conglomerate partnership, there will be plenty of causes for concern on the legislative side of things, as competitors are sure to call foul play on the possible monopoly.
Beyond the economic ramifications, this news points to a sports-at-large landscape that is evolving at a record pace, and the way consumers receive and engage with their sports content could be on the precipice of changing for good.
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NFL broadcasting rights could be thrown for a loop by new streaming service
Other sports with RSNs are facing an uncertain economic future
The streaming service, which is set to be released later in 2024 and does not currently have a name or individual brand associated with it, will include nonexclusive content from ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNews, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV and ESPN+.
Each of the four major American sports, hockey, football, baseball, and basketball, as well as Division I athletics at the collegiate level, will have a number of games and media events streamed through the service as well.
The NFL is in a unique position relative to the other sports since it has a more diverse portfolio of channels and companies airing its games. On top of Amazon, which owns the rights to Thursday Night Football, and NBC, which owns the rights to Sunday Night Football, CBS also owns a package of non-primetime games on Sundays.
Other sports are more reliant on their regional sports networks and deals that primarily lie with the three media giants. Major League Baseball, for example, is currently experiencing a crisis as Diamond Sports Group (and other Sinclair subsidiaries) files for bankruptcy, leaving numerous teams with uncertain futures regarding their broadcasting revenue streams.
The pricing of the streaming service is currently undetermined, though Brian Steinberg of Variety explains:
“Pricing will be announced at a later date, but the companies will likely set a monthly subscription that is more than a consumer would pay for a standalone regional sports network, which costs $20 to $30 per month, and less than a larger digital programming package such as Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV, which cost around $75 to $80 per month, according to a person familiar with current discussions.”
At this time, there are no reported plans to bring in other partners to the service since the companies estimate that roughly 85% of U.S. sports broadcasting rights belong to the triumvirate of Fox, Disney, and Warner Brothers Discovery.
There are many details left to be sorted out, and the complexity of such an arrangement will surely lead to complications pre-launch, but for now, it appears sports fans will have another option to stream their games later in 2024.


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