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ESPN uncertainty: Streaming questions as cable TV declines

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

What’s next for the worldwide leader of sports now that Disney owns them?

ESPN, the world’s largest all-sports network, is pivoting towards streaming as its traditional cable TV model faces decline. The network, which has seen just a 1% increase in revenue to $4.4 billion recently, is launching a two-part streaming plan to attract viewers who are cutting the cable cord. This shift comes after decades of growth through increasing cable subscription fees, a model now threatened by the widespread move away from cable TV.

Starting this fall, ESPN will be available for the first time outside the traditional cable bundle, in collaboration with Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox, targeting viewers seeking sports content without a full network bundle’s cost. Additionally, ESPN plans to launch a flagship streaming service in fall 2025, offering comprehensive access to its content, including live and on-demand programming, aiming to engage younger audiences with features like personalized experiences and integration with ESPN Bet and fantasy sports.

As ESPN navigates this digital transition, Chairman Jimmy Pitaro emphasizes the shift to digital as a critical component of the network’s future strategy. The move reflects ESPN’s adaptation to changing viewer habits and the broader industry’s shift towards digital media consumption, marking a significant pivot in how the network plans to maintain its dominance in sports broadcasting amidst challenges.

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