ESPN to Prioritize Adding More Live Sports Rights to ESPN+

  • ESPN+ plans to host more content to bring in more viewers, both exclusive and non-exclusive.
  • The streaming platform is going to keep acquiring more rights for ESPN+ in the future.

The ESPN+ streaming service included an impressive amount of live sports coverage last year, and plans to add even more exclusive and non-exclusive content soon to rope in more audiences. It already hosts UFC, Bundesliga, La Liga, and many more, and the expansion continues.

"ESPN+ is the centerpiece. It is the jewel. It’s driven in large part by live events – UFC, La Liga, Bundesliga. We’ve acquired rights for that platform exclusively. It’s complementary to linear. That exclusivity really helps drive audience. As we move forward we are going to keep acquiring more rights for ESPN+," said ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro At the Barrett Sports Media summit held earlier this month.

In 2021, ESPN added rights to the NHL, KHL, PHL, LaLiga, Bundesliga, the Emirates FA Cup, and IPL Cricket, in addition to improving and expanding the streaming platform's coverage of NFL, NCAA, PGA Tour, UFC, and tennis. The video streaming service boasted 17.1 million subscribers by the end of last year. During a recent earnings call, the company said that the number has increased to 21.3 million. The platform's success can be attributed to cord-cutting, The Disney Bundle, and its exclusive content.

The streamer is yet to acquire the rights for NFL Sunday Ticket, which would perhaps give the company a truly expansive reach. Disney CEO Bob Chapek recently said that his company would bid on the rights for the Sunday Ticket. It is currently under the banner of DirecTV and some other media companies that have joined the bid race, including Amazon, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Apple.

Moreover, parent-company Disney did in-house research last year on whether they should get into sports betting, and they concluded it would strengthen the ESPN brand. This means we could soon see an EPSN sportsbook around.

Also read: Will WarnerMedia Stream NBA on HBO Max?

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