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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Disney Reportedly Hanging On to ESPN in Sports Push

  • Disney is reportedly planning to keep ESPN.
  • The broadcaster wants to compete with companies like Amazon and Apple.
ESPN
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Disney reportedly considered spinning off ESPN, but now the Mouse is abandoning the idea.

Puck, which reported the potential split in October, reported Thursday that Disney’s decision to hold on to ESPN is an effort to compete with companies like Amazon and Apple, which have both recently picked up streaming rights.

  • After revealing its “Friday Night Baseball” deal with MLB, Apple announced a 10-year broadcasting deal with MLS.
  • Amazon recently won rights to stream European Champions League soccer matches to its U.K. subscribers. Last year, it purchased exclusive rights to the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” for $1 billion per season.

CNBC released its own report in October that refuted Puck’s claims, adding that the company “aims to pursue further value through ESPN+ and sports betting.”

In May, Chapek said Disney is nearing the launch of a full-featured ESPN streaming service. The company is also reportedly looking to license its name to a sportsbook in a deal worth at least $3 billion.

Problems+

The company’s direct-to-consumer business posted a second-quarter operating loss of $900 million due to higher losses at Disney+ and ESPN+. Disney also said ESPN+’s lower results were partially attributed to a decrease in income from UFC pay-per-view events. 

ESPN+ last reported 22.3 million subscribers.

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