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Some sports will stream for free on Max, report says

Warner Bros Discovery will offer live sports through the streaming service for free until early next year.

Warner Bros Discovery will offer live sports through the streaming service for free until early next year.

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) will offer a limited amount of live sports through its general entertainment streaming service Max for free, according to a report published on Wednesday.

Citing unnamed sources, financial publication Bloomberg said Max will initially offer streaming subscribers free access to live basketball, hockey and baseball games that are simulcast from WBD’s cable channels TNT, TBS and Tru TV.

That plan will change next year when WBD begins offering live sports through Max for an additional surcharge, though it wasn’t immediately clear how much the company will charge for its sports tier on Max.

Currently, Max costs $10 a month for an ad-lite version of the service, while streamers who want to avoid commercials pay at least $16 a month for the privilege. Bloomberg didn’t say whether the ad-lite tier will also offer sports access, or if streamers will have to pay the extra $6 a month for the commercial-free tier.

The report confirms one published last month by CNBC that said WBD was looking to reconfigure some of its television deals with Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) and other stakeholders in order to offer live events through Max as they air on cable.

According to the CNBC report, WBD is preparing to offer some MLB playoff matches as early as the first week of October. WBD and Fox Sports trade off American League Division Series (ALCS) and National League Division Series (NLCS) events each year, with TBS holding the exclusive rights to the NLDS games this year.

WBD Is hoping the addition of more live sports will drive more streamers to Max at a time when American television viewers are increasingly ditching expensive cable and satellite package for usually-cheaper, online-only offerings like Max.

While the addition of live MLB, NHL and NBA games would likely draw more mainstream sports fans to the service, it won’t be the first time Max has hosted live athletic events: In January, WBD said Max — then known as HBO Max — would offer select matches from the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. The events were relegated to the commercial-free tier of HBO Max, which saw its price rise from $15 a month to $16 a month.

The first sports events streamed on HBO Max were part of a multi-year, $200 million deal that allowed WBD to broadcast U.S. Soccer Federation matches on TNT and TBS and stream the games on Max.