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Exclusive: Fox-ESPN-WBD sports service could be called Hulu Sports

The name is on a short list under consideration for the sports-inclusive streaming service launching later this year.

The name is on a short list under consideration for the sports-inclusive streaming service launching later this year.

A conceptual logo for Hulu Sports. (Graphic by The Desk)
Executives at Fox, ESPN and TNT Sports are leaning toward the name Hulu Sports for a new sports-inclusive streaming service launching later this year. (Conceptual graphic designed by The Desk)

A streaming service that marries sports-inclusive channels from Fox Sports, the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) TNT Sports could wind up sharing a name with Disney’s general entertainment streaming service Hulu, The Desk has learned.

Executives are leaning toward the name “Hulu Sports” for the forthcoming service, which would offer streaming versions of channels like Fox, ABC, ESPN, TNT and TBS, according to a source who works closely with a top-level official at one of the companies involved in the venture.

The Hulu Sports brand has been put on a short list of names under consideration, the source said, noting that executives feel the Hulu brand name is already familiar with consumers who have ditched cable and satellite for streaming services.

Hulu launched in 2007 as a joint venture between Disney, Fox and NBC Universal, providing next-day, on-demand access to TV shows aired on some broadcast and cable networks. Disney became the majority-owner of Hulu after acquiring Fox’s stake in the venture several years ago, and is in the process of acquiring the rest of Hulu from Comcast.

The sports-inclusive streaming service under development by Fox Sports, ESPN and TNT Sports will operate as a similar joint venture, one where the parent companies of each brand will hold an equitable one-third stake.

The streaming service will be sold on an à la carte basis and as a bundle with certain other streaming services, including Hulu, Disney Plus and WBD’s Max.

Executives at Disney have signaled their willingness to license the Hulu brand name to the streaming sports venture, the source said. Disney also owns the HuluSports.com domain name, and recently listed a limited liability company associated with Hulu as the registered owner of the domain name, according to a review of online records.

Officials at Disney and WBD did not return requests for comment. A spokesperson for Fox Corporation declined to comment.

The Fox-ESPN-TNT Sports streaming service would be one of the first offerings of a variety of broadcast and cable sports programming beyond the traditional pay TV bundle. At launch, the service is expected to offer streaming versions of local Fox and ABC stations along with national sports-inclusive cable channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, SEC Network, ACC Network, Big 10 Network, TBS, TNT and Tru TV.

Those channels will also offer general entertainment and lifestyle shows when no sports programming is available, making them full simulcasts of channels that are offered on cable and satellite today. The service won’t include standalone entertainment and news channels like Fox News, Fox Business, Disney Channel or FX, though it may offer pop-up feeds of sports programming aired on those channels during the year.

At launch, the service could cost between $45 and $50 per month, according to numerous reports, though the media companies are considering various promotional rates to draw interest from frugal sports fans.

The streaming service is expected to launch in the second half of 2024.


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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 11 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.
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