Could HBO Max follow in the steps of peers like Paramount+, Peacock, and Hulu in bringing live sports to its streaming platform? One exec certainly thinks so. In an interview with SportTechie, WarnerMedia exec Peter Scott said his company would consider doing so — as long as their partners were okay with it.
“It might be a destination down the road to put NBA games on HBO Max, I think there’s no question about it,” Scott said. “If we can work a deal out where the cable operators are cool with us doing that, I think you have to look at that as a potential place. And we’ll have to pay some incremental amount to be able to distribute on HBO Max.”
Scott further elaborated, making it pretty obvious that there’s a legitimate internal interest in putting live sports on HBO Max. “What we want to do with HBO Max is, we want to put live sports on it,” Scott said. “There may be a scenario where we go back to our partners with the cable operators and say ‘Hey, do you mind if you put this on HBO Max?’”
Turner already has permission from the NHL to stream live games, but haven’t simulcast any games as of yet.
The question is, would the NBA be comfortable with WarnerMedia moving broadcasts from Turner cable networks to a paid-streaming service? While zero NBA or NHL games registered in the top 100 broadcasts of 2021, live sports are still clearly a draw, especially for younger audiences who are especially drawn to the NBA. Putting the NBA on a streaming platform like HBO Max would be a no-brainer for WarnerMedia.
Interestingly, WarnerMedia’s other large sports acquisition, the NHL, utilizes the digital media side of things quite well by working with Bleacher Report — yet another WarnerMedia arm — by live-streaming digital hangouts with its personalities like Paul Bissonnette and Wayne Gretzky. Could WarnerMedia start doing the same thing with “Inside the NBA stars” by launching a “BarkleyCast” or a “ShaqCast” that airs alongside their national games?
WarnerMedia also has an ace that only Peacock can match — pro wrestling. WarnerMedia is the broadcasting home to All Elite Wrestling’s two flagship programs “Wednesday Night Dynamite” and “Rampage,” which airs Friday nights. AEW owner Tony Khan has made it obvious that his company is looking for a streaming home and HBO Max seems like a prime destination. A trifecta of NBA basketball, NHL hockey, U.S. National team soccer (thanks to the recent rights acquisition), and AEW pro wrestling, alongside all its other great content options, could make HBO Max a real contender in the streaming space.
HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-supported plan for US$9.99 and ad-free plan for US$14.99. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.
They also will get Max Originals that aren’t available to HBO channel subscribers, like “The Flight Attendant” (Kaley Cuoco), “Love Life” (Anna Kendrick), as well as reboots to “Sex In The City” and “Gossip Girl.”