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What Will HBO Max’s Eventual Expansion into Live Sports Look Like?

Matt Tamanini

Despite really bad news for Netflix and CNN+ last week, things weren’t as equally dire for HBO Max. In fact, the flagship streamer of the newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery had a pretty good week, announcing that they added 3 million subscribers in the first quarter of the year, bumping their global total up to 76.8 million.

HBO Max will celebrate its second anniversary in May, and as the streamer is climbing to the tops in terms of streaming market share and app downloads, now is a good time to look forward at the service’s next big endeavor, live sports.

Like many of their streaming competitors, HBO Max will undoubtedly become a bigger player for live TV sports rights now that they have combined with Discovery, who is a major sports rights holder internationally, owning the Olympics rights in Europe through 2024.

HBO Max actually already has live streaming rights for the NHL, but has yet to exercise them. Additionally, last month, Turner Sports — another WBD company — won live broadcast rights to the United States Men’s and Women’s Soccer Teams with all of them appearing on HBO Max.

Currently, HBO Max streams Champions League soccer in Latin America, and the streamer’s EVP for Global Product Management Sarah Lyons told The Streamable that they were using that as a test to eventually roll it out in the U.S.

“We’ve started to test our way into how that fits into the platform,” she said. “We have Champions League which is huge and actually draws a lot of concurrent viewership, which is amazing. So we’ve started playing with how that content fits within the HBO Max experience overall.”

Lyons explained that from a viewership and technology perspective, live sports act very much like HBO’s buzzy, appointment-viewing content like “Succession,” “Euphoria,” and “The Gilded Age.” And while most domestic consumers might not yet think of HBO Max as a platform for live sports, it is something that very much fits into their DNA.

“Our SVOD content is very event-driven, as when we drop something big on a Sunday night, people flood to watch it the minute it drops,” she said. “So it is like live sports because it’s also very event-driven. So, it’s actually more naturally in the experience than one would think.”

Lyons said that in terms of promoting live sports in the HBO Max app, for Latin American subscribers, they have created a hub where users can watch games live and on-demand and check out the upcoming schedules. Once U.S. Soccer arrives on the service, they will look to build on — and enhance — that existing experience before expanding to additional sports content in the future.

New WBD CEO David Zaslav intends to bundle and then merge HBO Max with new corporate sibling discovery+ to build a single streaming home for the company. As that develops, it would not be a surprise for more of Turner’s sports rights to become available for streaming.

Turner is one of the linear homes for the NBA, MLB, NHL, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, AEW Wrestling, and more. So, given Zaslav’s desire for a unified streaming front, it would not be a surprise if we see more live (and on-demand) sports content popping up on HBO Max in the future.

Of course, it does bear reminding that the cable side of HBO has a long history of broadcasting live sports, especially as one of the premier homes of boxing for nearly 50 years.


HBO Max es un servicio de transmisión de video por suscripción que brinda acceso a la biblioteca completa de HBO, junto con Max Originals exclusivos, y acceso a todas las películas de Warner Bros. en HBO Max poco después de que estén en los cines.

HBO Max HBO Max tiene dos planes: un plan móvil “Mobile” (COP 13,900 / mes), que está diseñado para un solo usuario en su dispositivo móvil, así como un plan familiar “Multitelas” (COP 19,900 / mes) ofrece a las familias acceso a 3 usuarios simultáneos.

Los suscriptores tendrán acceso a series exitosas de HBO como Succession, Sex and The City, Sopranos, Game of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, y mas.

Todos los suscriptores de HBO Max obtendrán las bibliotecas completas de programas como “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “The West Wing”, y mas.

Los suscriptores de HBO Max obtendrán Max Originals adicionales que incluyen Love Life, Raised By Wolves, Dune: The Sisterhood , Tokyo Vice , The Flight Attendant , Gremlins , Legendary, Craftopia, los nuevos dibujos animados de Looney Tunes, y The Not Too Late Show with Elmo de Sesame Workshop.


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