Disney executives revealed that its new sports streaming service would be branded ESPN Plus (ESPN+) and be available in spring 2018 through a revamped app and permit subscriptions to thousands of additional live sporting events.
“This one app experience will be a one-of-a-kind product, offering sports fans far more than they can get on any other app, website, or channel and immediately propelling ESPN in the new direction,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said Thursday.
This disclosure came on its earnings call to wrap up the company’s fiscal year that closed Sept. 30. Pricing details were not immediately apparent, nor was it conclusive what services will be available to cord cutters as opposed to those subscribers who authenticate the app.
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ESPN+ will be Disney’s first direct-to-consumer offering, preceding the company’s general Disney DTC streaming service by about a year. These streaming channels and packages are the culmination of Disney’s investment in BAMTech — Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s spinoff company specializing in streaming services — and eventual purchase of a controlling stake.
“Our decision to acquire control of BAMTech enables us to launch robust DTC offerings,” Iger said, “and immediately provides us the tools we need to stream video at scale, to acquire and retain customers, to greatly enhance our advertising opportunities on digital platforms, and to use consumer data to provide a better user experience while giving us the ability to grow revenue and increase the effectiveness of our digital marketing efforts.”