At Disney’s upfront on Tuesday, CEO Bob Chapek said the entertainment conglomerate is “the most powerful force in the industry.”
Part of that distinction is due to a serious investment in sports that only gets stronger. Highlights from the presentation included:
- Disney secured a deal with the XFL to air 43 games each season from 2023 through 2027.
- Disney will have the Super Bowl return to ABC in 2027 and 2031.
- It extended its deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions to air the ManningCast.
- ESPN is set to air roughly 35% more NFL games in 2023.
Disney is also prioritizing its streaming services. ESPN+ reported 22.3 million subscribers in fiscal Q2, up 1 million year-over-year, while Disney+ beat forecasts with 137.7 million subscribers during the quarter, up from a projected 135 million.
Disney+ is looking to attract even more subscribers with plans to launch a low-cost subscription plan — which will include advertisements — later this year. Earlier this week, Disney confirmed it will limit ad breaks on the service to just four minutes per hour.
Disney could grow even more as it continues to do business with America’s most popular professional sports league. Chapek confirmed in February that Disney plans to bid on media rights to “NFL Sunday Ticket.” A deal for the rights could fetch $2.5 billion per season.
DirectTV currently holds rights to the out-of-market programming package through 2023.