Venu Sports: New Disney-FOX-WBD sports streaming service

Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery have announced their joint sports streaming venture, Venu Sports, set to launch in fall 2024. This new platform will consolidate ESPN, Fox Sports, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s extensive sports content into one accessible service.

Venu Sports
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Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery have unveiled the name of their joint venture: Venu Sports. 

Slated for a fall 2024 launch, Venu Sports (pronounced “Venue”) promises to consolidate the extensive sports offerings of ESPN, Fox Sports, and Warner Bros. Discovery into a single, accessible platform. 

“We are excited to officially introduce Venu Sports, a brand that we feel captures the spirit of an all-new streaming home where sports fans outside of the traditional pay TV ecosystem can experience an incredible collection of live sports, all in one place,” said Pete Distad, CEO of Venu Sports, in a press release. 

Despite the excitement, several key questions remain unanswered. The exact pricing for Venu Sports has yet to be disclosed. Early estimates from Wall Street suggest a monthly subscription cost between $40 and $50, but the final price point is still under wraps. 

In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT network may lose its NBA rights to a competing bid from NBCUniversal. If NBC wins those rights through its $2.5 billion per year bid, it would likely impact Venu Sports’ offering, as the NBA is a major draw for sports fans.

NBC’s acquisition of NBA rights would mean bringing games from a cable network back to broadcast TV. At least some games could end up streaming on Peacock. However, games on NBC would be freely available to the estimated 23 million U.S. homes using a TV antenna. (Nielsen estimated the number of antenna users in the U.S. in a November 2023 report.)

Distad, a former Apple and Hulu executive, brings a wealth of experience in streaming services and digital content distribution to his new role. But there has been no public statements from WBD’s partners, Disney or FOX, about how the NBC deal might impact their plans.

The heads of the three media giants have said previously that their intention is to capture the elusive cord-never audience and diversify their streaming portfolios.

Venu Sports aims to offer a comprehensive lineup of live sports from top leagues and teams, unifying content from ESPN, ESPN+, Fox Sports, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s sports channels. 

This includes popular networks like ABC, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, TNT, TBS, and the Big Ten Network. By leveraging the combined sports rights of its parent companies, Venu Sports will cover about 55% of U.S. sports rights, making it a formidable player in the streaming market.

The formation of Venu Sports has not been without controversy. 

Streaming competitor FuboTV has filed a federal lawsuit against the venture, alleging antitrust violations and unfair business practices. FuboTV claims that the collaboration between Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery suppresses competition in the sports streaming market. 

Regulatory approval is still pending, and the Department of Justice is reportedly reviewing the venture for anticompetitive implications. Additionally, congressional scrutiny has been called for by some lawmakers concerned about potential consumer price hikes and the fairness of licensing terms for sports leagues and video distributors.

Despite these challenges, Venu Sports is moving forward with its plans, positioning itself as the future home of sports streaming. 

The platform will be available directly to consumers through a new app, with options to bundle it with Disney+, Hulu, or Max for added value.  

As the launch date approaches, sports fans and industry analysts alike will be watching closely to see how Venu Sports navigates these hurdles and delivers on its promise of a one-stop destination for live sports.  

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

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