Disney is making good on its promise to take ESPN direct-to-consumer.
Through the firm’s quarterly earnings name Wednesday, CEO Bob Iger introduced an arrival date for the standalone ESPN streaming service, deliberate for August 2025.
The upcoming streamer will stay separate from the sports activities streaming service with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, which was introduced yesterday. That streamer is slated to launch later this yr.
In the meantime, Disney’s standalone ESPN service will embody the complete suite of ESPN channels, in addition to digital integrations like ecommerce, ESPN Guess and fantasy sports activities.
“Finally, our mission is to make ESPN into the preeminent digital sports activities model,” stated Iger. “ESPN has lengthy prioritized its need and skill to serve sports activities followers wherever they’re, and these steps will strengthen ESPN’s capacity to ship on that promise.”
The brand new service comes along with streamer ESPN+, which has plateaued at round 25 million subscribers.
Disney designed ESPN+ as an addition to the corporate’s linear sports activities portfolio; nonetheless, the brand new providing combines ESPN’s full linear, digital and streaming portfolios.
“We’re excited to supply a extra unified streaming expertise, which you count on will ship sturdy advantages when it comes to increased engagement, decrease churn and higher promoting potential,” stated Iger. “Success for us on this, principally migration, could be to keep up ESPN’s place in sports activities usually, the affinity that followers have with ESPN and the attractiveness of ESPN to advertisers and sports activities leagues.”
The brand new ESPN service may even be obtainable bundled with Disney+ and Hulu, equally to how the corporate at the moment bundles merchandise.
A brand new bundle
In addition to the ESPN streamer, the three way partnership sports activities service coming later this yr combines ESPN’s, WBD’s and Fox’s linear and streaming sports activities portfolios.
Iger emphasised to analysts that the ESPN standalone differs from the upcoming mixed streaming service by together with options like built-in betting, fantasy, a “probably” gross sales arm and deep dives into statistics.
When analysts introduced up questions on the opportunity of the mixed service cannibalizing Disney’s linear enterprise, Iger disregarded considerations.