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ESPN President: ESPN Will Try to Include ESPN+ In New Rights Deals

Jason Gurwin

According to a report in MediaPost, ESPN is will try to negotiate ESPN+ into any new rights deals. At a WSJ event this week, ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro indicated the telecasts may not match exactly what you see on ESPN. “You can 100% expect to see more of that, where we don’t just have the broadcast for linear television, we can do something a bit different for the ESPN+ service,” said Pitaro.

Much of the growth to ESPN+ has been attributed to the addition of UFC which premiered in January. After 7 years with Fox, UFC signed a $150 million per year rights deal with ESPN to air events on their linear channel and streaming service.

In addition to UFC, ESPN’s direct-to-consumer OTT streaming service includes access to daily out-of-market NHL, MLB, MLS games, international soccer coverage, college sports, original shows, and the entire library of 30 for 30 content. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year and includes live and on demand sports programming.

In February, Disney CEO Bob Iger, shared that the service had reached 2 million subscribers. Disney has said that they expect to expand the service to Latin America in the near future.

There have been rumblings that ESPN may try to acquire NFL Sunday Ticket’s streaming rights for ESPN+. On the Disney’s last conference call, CEO Bob Iger said, “there has been exploration whether there is an opportunity there. We are very bullish on the NFL.” It’s been reported that Amazon for Prime Video and Google for YouTube could also be interested in the package.

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