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Ex-Apple exec Pete Distad to lead sports streaming service

Pete Distad. (Courtesy photo)
Pete Distad. (Courtesy photo)

A former Apple executive has been tapped to lead a new streaming-focused sports joint venture formed by Fox Corporation, the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery (WBD), the companies announced on Friday.

In a press release, the companies named Pete Distad as the new chief executive of the still-unnamed sports company. He joins after serving as a media executive at Apple for a decade and a prior career at Disney-owned Hulu.

“This is an incredible opportunity to build and grow a differentiated product that will serve passionate sports fans in the US outside of the traditional pay TV bundle,” Distad said in a statement on Friday. “I’m excited to be able to pull together the industry-leading sports content portfolios from these three companies to deliver a new best-in-class service.”

“Pete is an accomplished innovator and leader who has extensive experience with launching and growing new video services,” the companies at the heart of the joint venture said in a statement. “We are confident he and his team will build an extremely compelling, fan-focused product for our target market.”

Distad will be based in Los Angeles, where the sports joint venture will be headquartered. He will report to the board of directors for the joint venture, with its members consisting of executives hand-picked by all three stakeholders involved.

Distad’s first job will be to formulate a team of leading executives that will work with him to develop and launch the streaming sports service, which will offer broadcast and cable channels like Fox, ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, TBS, TNT and Tru TV.

As announced, the service will not offer general entertainment channels that do not have some sports programming — meaning no Fox News Channel, CNN, Disney Channel, FX, Freeform or National Geographic.

The service will target so-called “cord-cutters” who drop expensive cable and satellite packages for cheaper streaming-only options. Analysts say the service could be priced between $40 and $50 per month, which would undercut the other sports-inclusive streaming services that start around $70 per month and quickly increase in price based on the channels offered.

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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 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.
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