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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Warner Bros. Discovery Plans Max Sports Tier Debut For MLB Playoffs

  • October provides key confluence of top sports content for tier's debut
  • Effort to carry branding from company-owned Bleacher Report
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Warner Bros. Discovery

Warner Bros. Discovery plans to debut its long-awaited sports tier for Max with the start of October’s MLB playoffs, according to industry sources.

After WBD CEO David Zaslav said last week that a sports tier on the prominent streaming service has been a key option for the company, plans are now set to come to fruition in less than two months and could be formally announced sometime around Labor Day, per sources.

MLB playoffs coverage, which has been a key WBD tentpole for years, is poised to be joined by the NBA, NHL, and NCAA on Max, as the company owns digital rights for all its key live sports content.

The start of the NBA and NHL seasons, also in October, closely follow the start of the MLB playoffs, which will provide a critical confluence of content for the debut of the new sports tier — and make the month one of the most important in WBD’s entire sports calendar.

The sports tier will carry branding from Bleacher Report, the sports media outlet Time Warner acquired in 2012 and which was part of the subsequent Warner Media-Discovery merger. Its coverage will also feature B/R highlights and supplemental content, as that outlet’s younger demographic is a key target of potential streaming consumers given its tendency for cord-cutting.

Pricing hasn’t been finalized, but in its current form, Max costs $15.99 per month without ads and $9.99 per month with commercials. 

Max currently has 95.8 million global direct-to-consumer subscribers, ranking far above other rival services such as Peacock, Hulu, Paramount+, and ESPN+, but below Netflix and Disney+.

CNBC initially reported the news of Warner Bros. Discovery’s timing for the sports tier.

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