Betting on the Sports Bundle

It’s difficult to fully predict how the planned sports joint venture of Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery will shift the already tumultuous sands that surround sports rights. Not only might the Department of Justice ultimately block or erect draconian guardrails around the deal, but rival virtual MVPD Fubo – whose sports-centric strategy seems eerily similar to that of the JV – has already filed a lawsuit to block the venture.

The NFL, which oversees the most popular and lucrative sport in America, appears quite miffed about the whole thing. And so far investors and the general public have few details about how the JV will price itself, with estimates ranging from $30-70/mo and raising questions about the viability of such an expensive venture that doesn’t even include half the rights out there. Comcast NBCU’s Peacock and Paramount Global are now even reportedly mulling a rival content bundle, which would presumably include their own sports offerings and create yet another destination for sports fans to navigate.

It’s confusing. But not to fear: One Touch Intelligence analyzes every angle and lays out possible scenarios in a new DEEPDive® special report, “The Sporting Chance,” available for free download here. In this comprehensive report, we dissect what we know about the venture, whose channels will include ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNews, ABC, FOX, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV, as well as ESPN+. That should account for most if not all of sports rights covered by the three partners, although it’s unclear whether additional on-demand content will supplement live feeds that we assume will be non-exclusive simulcasts of linear feeds. Will some games be exclusive? These are the sorts of scenarios we discuss in the report.

Next? OTI’s report includes granular details about Disney, Fox, and WBD sports rights down to the leagues, teams, games, sports, networks, and streaming services impacted by the venture – all culled from the Sports Rights Tracker within our StreamTRAK® video intelligence service. We also highlight additional sports-video sources airing individual events and matches that will likely live within the venture. We compare pricing between various streaming services and the venture, which will perhaps for the first time put a known, visible price tab around live sports. After years of hiding sports costs within massive expanded basic bundles, consumers will finally get a chance to directly connect sports rights cost to their bills. Some would call that progress. Others fear a backlash. Either way, the competitive dynamics will never be the same between streamers, vMVPDs, traditional MVPD bundles, and sports leagues and teams. We even dissect how local sports rights plays into this complex web, as well as pick apart the legal and regulatory implications mentioned above. Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch suggested this week that the JV could amass at least 5 million subs within five years. Will it be enough? In the end, this JV may say more about the inevitable shift of sports to streaming than about how to create a profitable enterprise in 2024. But with consumers seeking a more bundled and less confusing sports experience, the industry needs to start somewhere

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