The Desk appreciates the support of readers who purchase products or services through links on our website. Learn more...

Fox-ESPN-WBD sports service could cost $50 per month

Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home turf for the San Francisco 49ers.
Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, the home turf for the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Jim Bahn via Wikimedia Commons)

A consortium of broadcasters who are developing a sports-inclusive streaming service are hoping to keep the cost of the product at or below $50 per month, according to multiple reports.

The service, which was announced earlier this month and has yet to be named, will see Fox Corporation, the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) TNT Sports come together to offer certain broadcast and cable channels within a single streaming product targeted at sports fans.

In a statement released earlier this month, officials from the three companies confirmed the Fox and ABC broadcast networks will be represented in the package, along with sports-inclusive cable networks like Fox Sports 1, ESPN, TNT, TBS, Tru TV and a handful of college sports channels.

People familiar with the development of the service say the companies are not planning to include general entertainment and news channels like Disney, FX, National Geographic and CNN, which typically do not offer sports programming, and have shut out other broadcast companies like Paramount Global and Comcast’s NBC Universal from participating in the venture.

Sports-inclusive channels are typically among the most-expensive for a cable or satellite platform to cable, and have been a leading cause behind rising pay television bills for subscribers. Carriage terms typically dictate that a cable, satellite or streaming cable-like provider offer a mixture of general entertainment, news, lifestyle and sports channels as a condition of carrying a company’s portfolio of networks.

The streaming service under development would break from that mold by offering sports channels without the rest (something that has drawn the ire of certain cable TV organizations, which say the plan put them at a disadvantage). With those channels being among some of the most-expensive to carry, industry experts have been left to surmise just how much Fox, ESPN and TNT Sports plan to charge for the service once it is available.

According to reports, the companies are hoping to price the service at a lower rate than streaming cable TV replacements like YouTube TV, Fubo and DirecTV Stream, with executives hoping to price the sports streamer around $50 per month. The price would be around $5 lower than a comparable plan offered by Dish Network’s Sling TV called “Sling Orange and Blue,” which offers Fox, ESPN and WBD’s sports and entertainment channels along with networks from other broadcasters for $55 per month.

Last week, CNBC said executives were still evaluating an appropriate price point for the service, and could offer introductory discounts meant to encourage people to sign up. Those discounts would likely still involve subscribers paying more than $30 per month to receive the channels, CNBC said.

While Fox, ESPN and TNT Sports have no plans to allow other broadcasters to join the service, a source told CNBC the companies were open to onboarding some independently-owned networks like Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Tennis Channel in the future.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Get stories like these in your inbox, plus free breaking news alerts on business and policy matters involving media and tech.

Photo of author

About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
Home » News » Industries » Streaming » Fox-ESPN-WBD sports service could cost $50 per month