ESPN Wants to Show Users Where They Can Stream Any Sport, Even on Competing Services
The streaming industry has been more well known for competition than cooperation thus far. But that could be changing, according to a new report from CNBC.
The report states that ESPN has been reaching out to other media companies that offer sports streaming with an intriguing idea. The network wants to use its ESPN app, which also houses its own sports streamer ESPN+, to show users where they can watch any sporting event currently being streamed, even if it’s on a competing service.
That means that users could open the ESPN app and click a guide that shows them which Premier League soccer matches are currently on Peacock, or the next “Thursday Night Football” game on Prime Video. The feature would provide links that allow customers to click out to the other services to start watching. It could even include content available on regional sports networks (RSNs), which would be quite a boon for companies like Sinclair Broadcasting and its Bally Sports RSNs. Discussions are still in the preliminary stages, according to CNBC, and there are plenty of issues and details that still need to be ironed out.
However, it cannot be argued that the move to aggregate sports streaming information on the ESPN app would be very helpful for fans. A survey from December 2022 showed that a whopping 86% of streaming video users wanted a platform that would show them content and recommendations from across as many different individual streaming services as possible.
It would also aid users in quicker content discovery, which is becoming increasingly difficult these days. Viewers report spending over 11 minutes on average deciding what to stream next, according to one survey, which marks an increase of 52% over 2019. Having a listing of sports available to stream on a given day would be a massive asset, as sports rights become more widely distributed and it becomes harder to tell where you can stream a game, or if it’s streaming at all.
The proposal by ESPN to show where users can stream all sports content currently airing is not the first move Disney has made to demonstrate its willingness to work with other companies in order to enhance revenues. The company has also been exploring the idea of licensing more movies and shows to other services, which means some content could be disappearing from Disney+ or Hulu in the near future and popping up on an otherwise competing service.
All in all, this move is exactly what streaming customers have been clamoring for. It will help speed up content discovery, aid ESPN by bringing more users to its app (and theoretically in turn to ESPN+), and help other streaming services that have big live sports portfolios. The plan makes sense for just about everyone, but ESPN has to get other services to play ball before it can launch an aggregated sports streaming feature on its app.
ESPN+ is a live TV streaming service that gives access to thousands of live sporting events, original shows like Peyton’s Place, the entire library of 30 for 30, E:60, The Last Dance, as well exclusive written analysis from top ESPN insiders.
The service can be subscribed for $9.99 / month per month or annually for $99.99 / year.
You will get a daily out-of-market game from MLB, and every out-of-market NHL with NHL Power Play (previously NHL.TV). For NFL Fans, they have an exclusive NFL game, and simulcast select Monday Football games.
The service has some of the most attractive soccer coverage including Bundesliga, LaLiga, FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, EFL Championship, EFL Carabao Cup, Eredevise and more.
College sports fans will be able to watch thousands of games and events including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, gymnastics, swimming & diving, lacrosse, wrestling, volleyball, golf, and more.
For boxing and UFC fans, the service offers Top Rank boxing and will be the home of 15 exclusive UFC events.
ESPN+ now includes exclusive insights from analysts like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay (which used to be part of ESPN Insider), as well as premium Fantasy Tools & PickCenter.
What it does not include is most live sports that air on ESPN and ESPN2.
To get access to those channels you have to subscribe to a live TV streaming service. We suggest reading our guide on How to Watch ESPN without Cable.