Streaming services were once an idea that had us excited. They were affordable, let us come close to fine-tuning our preferred viewing experience, and let us break free from the cable companies that dominated our lives and wallets for too many years.
But these days, streaming services are becoming like cable. Prices often go up multiple times per year, every TV head thinks it should be its own network that demands its own piece of our monthly salary, and the once-promising idea of TV freedom no longer feels like it’ll ever arrive. We’re just paying the same crazy fees that we used to, only now a separate app is required to access what was once all-in-one.
I bring all of that up because in a previous streaming life I would be jumping for joy at the idea of ESPN, Fox, and Warner teaming up to launch a sports streaming service, which they did this week. This announcement should have been cause for celebration, but I’m finding it hard to see how this new partnership will be any sort of affordable.
The three shared the news, saying that they’ll launch a streaming platform “in the fall” of 2024 that will include “at least” 15 networks and all four of the major professional sports leagues. This will give users like you and I a “one-stop app to view most sports.”
That sounds cool and all, but the press release also suggests that this will be a great option for fans “who continue to navigate rising costs by subscribing to multiple services.” So the solution is to help those fans by giving them yet another service to subscribe to? Come on, man.
We do know that we’ll get games from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, NASCAR, college sports, golf, tennis, and the FIFA World Cup. The networks expected to be included are ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNEWS, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, TNT, TBS, truTV.
No pricing was given, of course. That will come at a later date, likely closer to launch. You will apparently be able to bundle this with Disney+, Hulu, and Max in some way.
Look, ESPN and the Turner networks are one of the big reasons our streaming TV packages are so expensive and have doubled in price since they first arrived. I’d be shocked if this thing is going to cost anywhere near $10/mo. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was closer to $25/mo. I’m not even kidding. I hope I’m wrong.
But hey, if you were hoping for the ultimate in sports streaming packages, it’s coming later this year.