Media Rights Deals Reinforce Streaming As ‘The Future’ of Sports

    • Amazon Prime Video to be the home for “Thursday Night Football” for around $1 billion a year.
    • Disney+ is on track for as many as 260 million streaming subscribers by the end of 2024.

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As Disney reported its second-quarter results last week, CEO Bob Chapek dropped this gem during the earnings call: Disney+ is on track for as many as 260 million streaming subscribers by the end of 2024. 

That’s more than double its current number of streaming subscribers.

Disney also announced a deal with MLB that will keep “Sunday Night Baseball” on ESPN through 2028, which allows for simulcasts on ESPN+. 

When ESPN announced a seven-year deal with the NHL in March, it included more than 1,000 games per season streaming on ESPN+, which currently has more than 12 million subscribers.

But it’s not just Disney that’s helping fans transition from traditional TV to streaming platforms.

In March, the NFL announced its $100 billion media rights deals for the next decade,  including an exclusive streaming rights agreement with Amazon Prime Video to be the home for “Thursday Night Football” for around $1 billion a year.

The NFL’s deals with NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN  — which run through 2033 — also give those networks opportunities to provide access to games on their respective streaming platforms (Peacock, Paramount+, and Tubi).

Virtually all sports are accessible on streaming platforms. Some other notable deals: 

  • Disney acquired rights to LaLiga for eight years and will stream it on ESPN+.
  • Amazon, which is in discussions to acquire MGM, will stream 16 WNBA games and the Commissioner’s Cup Championship.
  • Peacock is the exclusive home to WWE in a deal worth more than $1 billion.
  • Paramount+ is home to the UEFA Champions League and is in talks to stream Australia’s A-League and W-League football games.

“Our fans want this option, and our media partners and the league understand that streaming is truly the future,” said Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots owner and chairman of the NFL’s media committee.

Then there’s that $130 billion media giant that will be bigger than Netflix. The still-to-be-named company — formed as a result of the AT&T-Discovery merger on Monday — includes TNT, TBS, and Bleacher Report.