• Loading stock data...
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Join us this September for Tuned In Request to Attend

Verizon Reportedly Explores ESPN Deal During Streaming Transformation

  • Telecommunications company joins growing list of potential investors
  • Disney-owned sports media giant continues to prepare direct-to-consumer version of network
ESPN camera operator at a basketball game.
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN continues to spark interest in an equity stake as Verizon reportedly discusses a broad-based agreement with the sports media giant.

Disney-owned ESPN has been in preliminary talks with Verizon, one of its key distributors, according to The Information. The company joins a list of potential partners including the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

In Verizon’s case, the talks are said to have centered on the development of a new ESPN streaming service. Disney CEO Bob Iger said a full, direct-to-consumer version of the network is “not a matter of if, but when.”

Verizon boasts more than 92.5 million wireless subscribers and is deepening its existing involvement with the NFL, offering a wide range of potential business combinations.

Iger disclosed last month that the company is open to selling part of ESPN to a strategic partner, as the company is “dealing head-on with some of our biggest challenges.” Among those is the ongoing cord-cutting that has slashed ESPN’s linear reach from more than 100 million homes in 2011 to the present 72.5 million.

More recently, ESPN has seen subscriber growth for ESPN+ stall, at least temporarily. Iger said during Disney’s earnings call last week that the company is “not necessarily looking for a cash infusion” in the equity sale talks, but rather “partners that are going to help ESPN transition to a [direct-to-consumer] model. That can come in the form of content, or distribution and marketing support, or both.”

Disney’s deliberation in this space is being supported by former colleagues Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, who are now back in consulting roles the company, working with ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro and Iger.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Verstappen’s Slump Sparks F1 Ratings: Will More U.S. Fans Watch?

Formula One viewership has stalled over the last year as Verstappen has dominated.

WNBA All-Star Weekend Signals League’s Growth, Delivers Action

The WNBA All-Star weekend was a showcase of the league’s rise driven by rookies.
Hosts of Inside the NBA on TNT

TNT Sports’ Parent Moves to Keep NBA Rights Despite Financial Woes

Warner Bros. Discovery is attempting to make good on its bid to retain NBA rights.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NFL’s 18-Game Season & Contract Holdouts, Olympics’ Newest Sport


Featured Today

The FTC Noncompete Ruling Could Change MMA As We Know It

Fighters could see their options—and earnings—grow.
July 21, 2024

O No Canada: The Next Big Sports Betting Scandal Could Erupt North of the Border

‘It’s open-season for match-fixing up there.’
July 20, 2024

The Road to the Return of ‘EA Sports College Football’

This summer, the biggest development in college sports is virtual.
Apr 15, 2024; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected with the number one overall pick to the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
July 16, 2024

Women’s Sports Merch Is a $4 Billion Market, but Supply Isn’t Meeting Demand

Retailers can’t make women’s sports apparel fast enough.

Everything You Need to Know: Where NBA, WBD Stand in Rights Decision

The interpretation of TNT Sports’ matching rights with the NBA amplifies the drama in the high-profile saga.
July 23, 2024

WNBA Smashes Ratings Record With Competitive All-Star Game

The game was the league’s highest rated in more than 20 years.
July 23, 2024

Comcast Scores With NBA Deal and Olympics, but Financial Issues Brew

The NBC Sports parent company details its new NBA rights deal, even before a league announcement.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
July 22, 2024

Sports TV Ratings Tend to Dip During Election Season, but Money Will Flow

Prior history suggests the upcoming election season will again prove disruptive to sports viewership.
July 22, 2024

Today’s the Day for WBD to Match Amazon’s NBA Offer

Amazon may have boxed out WBD in its offer.
July 22, 2024

Thom Brennaman Returns to Booth Years After Viral Slur

‘There’s a drive into deep left field by Castellanos.’
July 21, 2024

Netflix Reigns Supreme: NFL Deal, Robust Earnings Highlight Q2 Report

Netflix delivers a strong quarterly report, helping ease prior investor concerns.