Disney is making good on its promise to take ESPN direct-to-consumer.
Through the firm’s quarterly earnings name Wednesday, CEO Bob Iger introduced an arrival date for the standalone ESPN streaming service, deliberate for August 2025.
The upcoming streamer will stay separate from the sports activities streaming service with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, which was introduced yesterday. That streamer is slated to launch later this yr.
In the meantime, Disney’s standalone ESPN service will embody the total suite of ESPN channels, in addition to digital integrations like ecommerce, ESPN Wager and fantasy sports activities.
“In the end, our mission is to make ESPN into the preeminent digital sports activities model,” mentioned Iger. “ESPN has lengthy prioritized its need and talent to serve sports activities followers wherever they’re, and these steps will strengthen ESPN’s potential to ship on that promise.”
The brand new service comes along with streamer ESPN+, which has plateaued at round 25 million subscribers.
Disney designed ESPN+ as an addition to the corporate’s linear sports activities portfolio; nonetheless, the brand new providing combines ESPN’s full linear, digital and streaming portfolios.
“We’re excited to supply a extra unified streaming expertise, which you anticipate will ship robust advantages by way of greater engagement, decrease churn and higher promoting potential,” mentioned Iger. “Success for us on this, mainly migration, can be to keep up ESPN’s place in sports activities usually, the affinity that followers have with ESPN and the attractiveness of ESPN to advertisers and sports activities leagues.”
The brand new ESPN service can even be out there bundled with Disney+ and Hulu, equally to how the corporate at present bundles merchandise.
A brand new bundle
Apart from the ESPN streamer, the three way partnership sports activities service coming later this yr combines ESPN’s, WBD’s and Fox’s linear and streaming sports activities portfolios.
Iger emphasised to analysts that the ESPN standalone differs from the upcoming mixed streaming service by together with options like built-in betting, fantasy, a “possible” gross sales arm and deep dives into statistics.
When analysts introduced up questions on the potential of the mixed service cannibalizing Disney’s linear enterprise, Iger dismissed issues.