ESPN Inks $7.8 Billion College Football Playoff Rights Extension That Includes Streaming

ESPN March 19 announced a six-year, reportedly $7.8 billion extension with the NCAA that gives the Disney-owned sports network exclusive rights to the college football playoffs for the 2026 through 2032 seasons. ESPN has held exclusive rights to the playoffs since 2015.

ESPN will expand its current package for the final two years (through the 2025-26 season), adding all four of the new First Round games each year to the network’s existing New Year’s Six (now Quarterfinals and Semifinals) and the CFP National Championship rights in the new 12-team playoff that will launch this fall.

Beginning in the 2026-27 season, ESPN will broadcast the CFP National Championship on ABC in addition to offering the game across ESPN platforms, which include the ESPN+ subscription streaming service and all other Disney direct-to-consumer streaming offerings.

ESPN is joining Fox Sports and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max platform for a exclusive sports joint venture app launching in the fall. ESPN will reboot the existing ESPN+ streaming service in a new standalone platform bowing in 2025.

“ESPN has worked very closely with the College Football Playoff over the past decade to build one of the most prominent events in American sports,” Jimmy Pitaro, ESPN chairman, said in a statement. “This agreement further solidifies ESPN as the home of college football, as well as the destination for the vast majority of major college championships for the next eight years.”

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Media Executive Peter Distad Named CEO of New Disney, Fox, WBD Sports Streaming Joint Venture

Media, sports and technology executive Peter Distad has been named CEO of the pending sports streaming app joint venture formed by ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery. Distad, who most recently served as an executive at Apple for a decade following six years at Hulu, will assume oversight of all aspects of the JV, including overall strategy, distribution, marketing and sales.

Peter Distad

“Pete is an accomplished innovator and leader who has extensive experience with launching and growing new video services. We are confident he and his team will build an extremely compelling, fan-focused product for our target market,” ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery said in a joint statement.

Distad worked at Apple from 2013 to 2023, where he was responsible for the business, operations and global distribution for video, sports and Apple TV+. While there, he launched the new Apple TV in 2015, and later led teams that launched and scaled the Apple TV app, Apple TV+ and MLS Season Pass. He originally joined the company to lead product marketing for the Apple TV hardware product.

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At Hulu (2007-2013), Distad served as SVP of marketing and distribution on the executive team. He was part of the original Hulu launch team, overseeing customer acquisition and retention, distribution and marketing.

Upon establishment of the JV, Distad will report to its board of directors, which will include representatives selected by each of the three companies. He will be based at the to-be-established offices of the joint venture in Los Angeles, along with the independent management team he will assemble.

The new platform, announced in February, will bring together the companies’ portfolios of sports networks and certain of their direct-to-consumer (DTC) sports services — including content from all the major professional sports leagues and college sports. The formation of the pay service is subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements amongst the parties.

The sports streaming offering, scheduled to launch in the fall 2024, will be made available directly to consumers via a new app. Subscribers would also have the ability to bundle the product, including with Disney+, Hulu and/or Max.

The platform is designed to aggregate content to offer fans an extensive, dynamic lineup of sports content, aiming to provide a new and differentiated experience to serve sports fans, particularly those outside of the traditional pay-TV bundle, according to the JV.

Disney Launching Standalone ESPN Streaming Service in August 2025

Disney’s vaunted ESPN pay-TV sports property will soon have two significant standalone streaming access points.

ESPN will have its own branded streaming service launching in August 2025, Disney CEO Bob Iger said on the media giant’s Q1 fiscal call. The platform is also earmarked for a joint venture streaming platform bundle, along with Max and Hulu, launching this year and co-owned by Fox Corp., Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery.

“It’s important for us to serve the needs of consumers looking for a seamless way to access an aggregated collection of sports-centered content, including capturing fans moving away from the full cable and satellite bundle,” Iger said on the fiscal call.

It is not immediately clear if or how the new standalone service would differ from the current ESPN+ app, which ended 2022 with nearly 25 million subscribers. Disney stopped reporting subscriber numbers for ESPN+ last year.

Iger said the new ESPN streaming service, which will be bundled with Disney+ and Hulu, would also enable subscribers to conduct online gambling via ESPNBet and fantasy sports and ecommerce features, in addition to myriad sports stats.

“It’s an attractive business proposition for ESPN, allowing us to command per-unit economics, in line with established market rates for our sports content, just like we do with any streaming or linear service where we offer our programs,” Iger said.

“Ultimately, our mission is to make ESPN into the preeminent digital sports brand, reaching as many sports fans as possible and giving them even more ways to access the programming they love in whatever way best suits their needs,” he added. “We’ve been saying for a long time that taking ESPN in the direct-to-consumer direction was inevitable and that we were looking for partners to do so. This is really not a first step, it’s a second step. The first step was launching ESPN+ some years ago, which has actually been quite successful.”

ESPN posted an operating profit of $255 million on revenue of more than $4 billion for the fiscal period ended Dec. 31, 2023. That compared with a loss of $41 million on revenue of $4 billion during the previous-year fiscal period.

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Fox, ESPN, Warner Bros. Discovery Announce Landmark Joint Sports Streaming Venture

Fox Corp., Disney-owned ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery have formed a sports streaming joint venture that aims to soften the effect of the rising cost of live sports programming while retaining joint ownership.

The unnamed and unpriced JV would stream on WBD’s Max streaming service, in addition to Disney-owned Hulu and ESPN+, and launch sometime later this year. Subscribers would also have standalone access to Max, Disney+ and Hulu.

Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Co., said the new service represents a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business.

“This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service,” Iger said in a statement.

Speaking on the Feb. 7 fiscal call, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said legacy pay-TV remains the company’s primary focus, while adding that the new streaming service would target the 60 million consumers outside of the traditional bundle TV market with an array of “amazing sports content” in one place.

“We’ve done lots of sensitivity analysis, and we would not be launching this product if we thought it was going to significantly affect our pay-TV affiliate partners and that’s very important to us,” Murdoch said. “So the opportunity is huge. And that’s really because this platform is focused entirely not on cord cutters, but cord nevers.”

David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, said the new sports service exemplifies the media company’s ability to drive innovation.

“This service will] provide consumers with more choice, enjoyment and value,” Zaslav said.

WBD’s Max streaming service currently offers select live sports programming through its branded Bleacher Report app.

Sports covered by the new JV platform include:

PRO FOOTBALL NFL | UFL
PRO BASKETBALL NBA | WNBA
BASEBALL MLB
HOCKEY NHL
COLLEGE SPORTS ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, SEC | 40 NCAA Championship Events |

NCAA Men’s & Women’s Basketball Tournaments |

The College Football Playoff

GOLF PGA Tour | PGA Championship | The Masters | TGL
TENNIS Wimbledon | US Open | Australian Open
CYCLING Giro d’Italia | UCI Mountain Bike World Cup | Giro Donne
SOCCER FIFA World Cup | U.S. SoccerNWSL | MLS | LALIGA | Bundesliga | UEFA | CONCACAF
COMBAT SPORTS UFC | Top Rank
AUTO Formula 1 | NASCAR | 24 Hours of Le Mans

With both NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service and Paramount+ increasingly offering live sports, professional sports leagues are eyeing the transitioning market dynamics as a way to increase license rights.

With the exception of ad-supported Tubi, subscription-based Fox Nation and ad-supported Fox Weather, Fox has no direct-to-consumer streaming option for sports.

The National Basketball Association is looking to renegotiate its broadcast rights with ESPN and WBD’s TNT, which could reportedly fetch upwards of $70 billion over a 10-year deal.

Amazon currently pays the NFL $1 billion annually to exclusively distribute “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video.

Both Prime Video and Peacock reportedly paid the NFL $100 million each for exclusive rights to Black Friday and Wild Card Weekend games, respectively.

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Disney Begins Crackdown on Streaming Account Password Sharing

Disney has informed Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ subscribers that it will begin monitoring accounts to see if they are being illegally used by unauthorized users outside a subscriber’s household.

In a Jan. 31 email, Hulu said it had made “updates” to its “Subscriber Agreement,” effective Jan. 25 for new subscribers, and March 14 for current and existing subs.

“Unless otherwise permitted … you may not share your subscription outside of your household,” read the updated agreement, which stipulates that password sharing can only occur among a collection of devices associated with a subscriber’s primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.

“We may, in our sole discretion, analyze the use of your account to determine compliance with this agreement,” read the updated rules.

Hulu said that if it feels a subscriber has violated the agreement, it may at its “sole discretion” terminate access to the service and/or take any other steps as permitted by the revised agreement.

“You will be responsible for any use of your account by your household, including compliance with this section,” read the agreement.

During the last fiscal call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company would begin altering subscriber rights in an effort to mine incremental revenue from unauthorized users.

“We certainly have established this as a real priority,” Iger said. “And we actually think that there’s an opportunity here to help us grow our business.”

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The move borrows from rival Netflix, which last year began cracking down on what it claimed were about 100 million shared user accounts. The result has been an increase in paid subscribers, including 13.1 million new net subs in the most-recent fiscal period. A majority of new subs are opting for the less-expensive $6.99 ad-supported plan.

Netflix also allows existing password-sharing users to remain on the account for an additional $7.99 monthly fee.

Streamers Readying for 2024 National Women’s Soccer League Debut on March 15

Streaming video platforms Prime Video, Paramount+, ESPN+ and NWSL+ are set to begin offering live access to the 2024 National Women’s Soccer League season debut on March 15.

This season marks the beginning of the league’s landmark four-year domestic media rights agreements with CBS Sports, ESPN, Prime Video and Scripps Sports that will see 121 matches, including 113 regular season contests, all seven playoff fixtures and the 2024 NWSL Challenge Cup featured on national streaming and television platforms throughout the season.

Soccer’s embrace of live streaming includes the separate 10-year distribution deal with Major League Soccer on the Apple TV+ platform.

Prime Video will be the exclusive distribution platform for most Friday league matches, including the 2024 NWSL Challenge Cup at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on March 15, ahead of regular season kickoff. Reigning NWSL Champion NJ/NY Gotham FC and San Diego Wave FC, winners of the 2023 NWSL Shield, will open their respective regular season campaigns the weekend of March 22-24.

ESPN+ is streaming 16 separate matches, with the league standalone NWSL+ ad-supported platform streaming nearly 70 matches. Paramount+ is live-streaming one match, in addition to the championship match.

The season bows with the Kansas City Current, led by Brazilian international star Debinha, hosting U.S. Women’s National Team mainstay Sophia Smith and Portland Thorns FC in the inaugural match at CPKC Stadium, the first purpose-built stadium for a women’s professional sports team. The season opener, set for a 1 p.m. EST kickoff on March 16, will air live on ABC, marking the first NWSL match to be broadcast on the TV network.

Opening weekend coverage continues with a full slate of Saturday matches, including the return of Utah Royals FC as the club hosts the Chicago Red Stars at America First Field and the start of a fresh West Coast rivalry as expansion club Bay FC kicks off its NWSL campaign on the road against Angel City FC. Both contests will air live on Scripps-owned ION television network.

In total, each team will compete in 26 regular season matches, 13 at home and 13 on the road.

All NWSL matches on ESPN platforms and on ABC will stream live on ESPN+ in English and Spanish. The package also includes English, Spanish and Portuguese-language rights in Latin America.

NWSL+ is free to all fans tuning in to matches across the United States, and available to download on all iOS/Android devices, as well as streaming TV distributors Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku. In addition to match coverage, highlights and select replays, additional league and club content will also be available for free on the app.

CBS and Prime Video will have rights to one quarterfinal each while ESPN/ABC will air the remaining pair of quarterfinal matches. CBS and ESPN/ABC will also host one semifinal contest each.

For the third season, the NWSL Championship will air live in primetime on the CBS and stream on Paramount+.

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DATE HOME AWAY STADIUM PLATFORM KICK TIME (ET)
Friday, March 15 NJ/NY Gotham FC San Diego Wave FC Red Bull Arena Prime Video 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 Kansas City Current Portland Thorns FC CPKC Stadium ABC, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 Racing Louisville FC Orlando Pride Lynn Family Stadium NWSL+ 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 North Carolina Courage Houston Dash WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 Utah Royals FC Chicago Red Stars America First Field ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 16 Angel City FC Bay FC BMO Stadium ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 Seattle Reign FC Washington Spirit Lumen Field NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Friday, March 22 Orlando Pride Angel City FC Inter&Co Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, March 22 Utah Royals FC North Carolina Courage America First Field NWSL+ 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 Chicago Red Stars Seattle Reign FC SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 Washington Spirit Bay FC Audi Field ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 Houston Dash Racing Louisville FC Shell Energy Stadium NWSL+ 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 San Diego Wave FC Kansas City Current Snapdragon Stadium ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, March 24 Portland Thorns FC NJ/NY Gotham FC Providence Park ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 7 p.m.
Friday, March 29 Orlando Pride Chicago Red Stars Inter&Co Stadium NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Friday, March 29 San Diego Wave FC Seattle Reign FC Snapdragon Stadium Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 Kansas City Current Angel City FC CPKC Stadium ESPN, ESPN+ 2:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 North Carolina Courage NJ/NY Gotham FC WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 Portland Thorns FC Racing Louisville FC Providence Park ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 Bay FC Houston Dash PayPal Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, March 31 Washington Spirit Utah Royals FC Audi Field NWSL+ 1 p.m.
Friday, April 12 Houston Dash Washington Spirit Shell Energy Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, April 12 Utah Royals FC Orlando Pride America First Field NWSL+ 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 North Carolina Courage Portland Thorns FC WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 Racing Louisville FC San Diego Wave FC Lynn Family Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13 Chicago Red Stars Angel City FC SeatGeek Stadium ION 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 NJ/NY Gotham FC Kansas City Current Red Bull Arena NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 14 Bay FC Seattle Reign FC PayPal Park NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, April 19 Orlando Pride San Diego Wave FC Inter&Co Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 Washington Spirit NJ/NY Gotham FC Audi Field CBS, Paramount+ 1 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 Racing Louisville FC Utah Royals FC Lynn Family Stadium NWSL+ 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 Kansas City Current Bay FC CPKC Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 Portland Thorns FC Houston Dash Providence Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, April 21 Seattle Reign FC Chicago Red Stars Lumen Field NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, April 21 Angel City FC North Carolina Courage BMO Stadium CBSSN 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 26 Washington Spirit Orlando Pride Audi Field NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 26 Angel City FC Kansas City Current BMO Stadium Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 North Carolina Courage Seattle Reign FC WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 Utah Royals FC Houston Dash America First Field NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 Chicago Red Stars Portland Thorns FC SeatGeek Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 San Diego Wave FC Bay FC Snapdragon Stadium ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, April 28 NJ/NY Gotham FC Racing Louisville FC Red Bull Arena NWSL+ 5 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1 Orlando Pride North Carolina Courage Inter&Co Stadium NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1 Chicago Red Stars Washington Spirit SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1 Bay FC Portland Thorns FC PayPal Park CBSSN 10 p.m.
Friday, May 3 Utah Royals FC Angel City FC America First Field NWSL+ 9:30 p.m.
Friday, May 3 Seattle Reign FC San Diego Wave FC Lumen Field Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, May 4 NJ/NY Gotham FC North Carolina Courage Red Bull Arena ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 4 Portland Thorns FC Washington Spirit Providence Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, May 5 Houston Dash Kansas City Current Shell Energy Stadium CBS, Paramount+ 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 5 Orlando Pride Racing Louisville FC Inter&Co Stadium NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 5 Bay FC Chicago Red Stars PayPal Park NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 8 Houston Dash NJ/NY Gotham FC Shell Energy Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Wednesday, May 8 San Diego Wave FC Utah Royals FC Snapdragon Stadium CBSSN 10 p.m.
Wednesday, May 8 Seattle Reign FC Kansas City Current Lumen Field NWSL+ 10 p.m.
Friday, May 10 Racing Louisville FC Washington Spirit Lynn Family Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 Orlando Pride Bay FC Inter&Co Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 Portland Thorns FC Seattle Reign FC Providence Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 Chicago Red Stars Utah Royals FC SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 Kansas City Current North Carolina Courage CPKC Stadium NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 Angel City FC Houston Dash BMO Stadium NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 San Diego Wave FC NJ/NY Gotham FC Snapdragon Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17 Houston Dash Portland Thorns FC Shell Energy Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17 North Carolina Courage Utah Royals FC WakeMed Soccer Park Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, May 17 Bay FC San Diego Wave FC PayPal Park NWSL+ 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 Washington Spirit Angel City FC Audi Field ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 18 Kansas City Current Racing Louisville FC CPKC Stadium ION 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 NJ/NY Gotham FC Chicago Red Stars Red Bull Arena NWSL+ 5 p.m.
Sunday, May 19 Seattle Reign FC Orlando Pride Lumen Field NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Thursday, May 23 Angel City FC San Diego Wave FC BMO Stadium CBSSN 10 p.m.
Friday, May 24 Orlando Pride Portland Thorns FC Inter&Co Stadium NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Friday, May 24 Washington Spirit Seattle Reign FC Audi Field NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 24 Houston Dash North Carolina Courage Shell Energy Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, May 24 Bay FC NJ/NY Gotham FC PayPal Park Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 Chicago Red Stars Racing Louisville FC SeatGeek Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 Utah Royals FC Kansas City Current America First Field ION 10 p.m.
Friday, June 7 Racing Louisville FC Houston Dash Lynn Family Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, June 7 San Diego Wave FC Orlando Pride Snapdragon Stadium Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 8 NJ/NY Gotham FC Angel City FC Red Bull Arena CBS, Paramount+ 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8 Utah Royals FC Washington Spirit America First Field ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 8 Portland Thorns FC North Carolina Courage Providence Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 9 Chicago Red Stars Bay FC SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 9 Kansas City Current Seattle Reign FC CPKC Stadium NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Friday, June 14 Kansas City Current Chicago Red Stars CPKC Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 15 Racing Louisville FC NJ/NY Gotham FC Lynn Family Stadium ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Saturday, June 15 Washington Spirit San Diego Wave FC Audi Field ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 15 North Carolina Courage Orlando Pride WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 15 Houston Dash Angel City FC Shell Energy Stadium ION 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 16 Seattle Reign FC Portland Thorns FC Lumen Field CBS, Paramount+ 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 16 Bay FC Utah Royals FC PayPal Park CBSSN 10 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19 NJ/NY Gotham FC San Diego Wave FC Red Bull Arena NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Wednesday, June 19 Angel City FC Racing Louisville FC BMO Stadium CBSSN 10 p.m.
Friday, June 21 Orlando Pride Utah Royals FC Inter&Co Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Saturday, June 22 Houston Dash San Diego Wave FC Shell Energy Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 22 Bay FC Angel City FC PayPal Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 23 NJ/NY Gotham FC Washington Spirit Red Bull Arena ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 12:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 23 Portland Thorns FC Kansas City Current Providence Park NWSL+ 4 p.m.
Sunday, June 23 Seattle Reign FC Racing Louisville FC Lumen Field NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, June 23 North Carolina Courage Chicago Red Stars WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Friday, June 28 Kansas City Current Houston Dash CPKC Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, June 28 San Diego Wave FC Chicago Red Stars Snapdragon Stadium NWSL+ 10 p.m.
Saturday, June 29 Racing Louisville FC Bay FC Lynn Family Stadium ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 4 p.m.
Saturday, June 29 Washington Spirit North Carolina Courage Audi Field ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 29 Utah Royals FC Portland Thorns FC America First Field ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, June 30 NJ/NY Gotham FC Seattle Reign FC Red Bull Arena ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Sunday, June 30 Angel City FC Orlando Pride BMO Stadium NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 5 Portland Thorns FC San Diego Wave FC Providence Park Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 6 Chicago Red Stars Houston Dash SeatGeek Stadium ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Saturday, July 6 Kansas City Current Orlando Pride CPKC Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 6 Bay FC Washington Spirit PayPal Park NWSL+ 10 p.m.
Saturday, July 6 Angel City FC NJ/NY Gotham FC BMO Stadium ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, July 7 North Carolina Courage Racing Louisville FC WakeMed Soccer Park CBSSN 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 7 Seattle Reign FC Utah Royals FC Lumen Field NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Friday, August 23 Houston Dash Orlando Pride Shell Energy Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, August 23 Utah Royals FC Bay FC America First Field NWSL+ 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 24 NJ/NY Gotham FC Portland Thorns FC Red Bull Arena CBS, Paramount+ 2 p.m.
Saturday, August 24 San Diego Wave FC Angel City FC Snapdragon Stadium CBS, Paramount+ 4 p.m.
Saturday, August 24 Racing Louisville FC Chicago Red Stars Lynn Family Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, August 25 Washington Spirit Kansas City Current Audi Field CBSSN 12 p.m.
Sunday, August 25 Seattle Reign FC North Carolina Courage Lumen Field ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 10 p.m.
Friday, August 30 Portland Thorns FC Bay FC Providence Park Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 31 Racing Louisville FC Seattle Reign FC Lynn Family Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 31 Houston Dash Utah Royals FC Shell Energy Stadium ION 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 1 North Carolina Courage Kansas City Current WakeMed Soccer Park CBS, Paramount+ 2 p.m.
Sunday, September 1 Angel City FC Chicago Red Stars BMO Stadium CBS, Paramount+ 4 p.m.
Sunday, September 1 Orlando Pride NJ/NY Gotham FC Inter&Co Stadium NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 1 San Diego Wave FC Washington Spirit Snapdragon Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, September 6 Angel City FC Seattle Reign FC BMO Stadium Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 7 Washington Spirit Portland Thorns FC Audi Field CBS, Paramount+ 12:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 7 Kansas City Current Utah Royals FC CPKC Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 7 Bay FC Racing Louisville FC PayPal Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 8 NJ/NY Gotham FC Houston Dash Red Bull Arena ESPN2, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Sunday, September 8 Chicago Red Stars Orlando Pride SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 8 San Diego Wave FC North Carolina Courage Snapdragon Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, September 13 Orlando Pride Kansas City Current Inter&Co Stadium NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Friday, September 13 North Carolina Courage Bay FC WakeMed Soccer Park Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, September 13 Portland Thorns FC Chicago Red Stars Providence Park Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 14 Racing Louisville FC Angel City FC Lynn Family Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 14 Utah Royals FC San Diego Wave FC America First Field ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 15 Washington Spirit Houston Dash Audi Field ESPN2, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Monday, September 16 Seattle Reign FC NJ/NY Gotham FC Lumen Field CBSSN 10 p.m.
Friday, September 20 Kansas City Current Washington Spirit CPKC Stadium Prime Video 8 p.m.
Friday, September 20 Bay FC Orlando Pride PayPal Park NWSL+ 10:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 21 Racing Louisville FC North Carolina Courage Lynn Family Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 21 Houston Dash Seattle Reign FC Shell Energy Stadium NWSL+ 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 21 Chicago Red Stars San Diego Wave FC SeatGeek Stadium ION 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, September 22 NJ/NY Gotham FC Utah Royals FC Red Bull Arena ESPN2, ESPN+ 1 p.m.
Monday, September 23 Angel City FC Portland Thorns FC BMO Stadium CBSSN 10 p.m.
Friday, September 27 Angel City FC Washington Spirit BMO Stadium Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, September 28 Kansas City Current NJ/NY Gotham FC CPKC Stadium CBS, Paramount+ 1 p.m.
Saturday, September 28 Utah Royals FC Racing Louisville FC America First Field NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Saturday, September 28 Orlando Pride Houston Dash Inter&Co Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 28 San Diego Wave FC Portland Thorns FC Snapdragon Stadium ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, September 29 Seattle Reign FC Bay FC Lumen Field NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Sunday, September 29 Chicago Red Stars North Carolina Courage SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 6 p.m.
Friday, October 4 Houston Dash Chicago Red Stars Shell Energy Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, October 4 Seattle Reign FC Angel City FC Lumen Field Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, October 5 North Carolina Courage San Diego Wave FC WakeMed Soccer Park NWSL+ 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 5 Racing Louisville FC Kansas City Current Lynn Family Stadium NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 5 NJ/NY Gotham FC Bay FC Red Bull Arena ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 5 Portland Thorns FC Utah Royals FC Providence Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, October 6 Orlando Pride Washington Spirit Inter&Co Stadium ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 5 p.m.
Friday, October 11 Portland Thorns FC Orlando Pride Providence Park Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, October 12 Chicago Red Stars NJ/NY Gotham FC SeatGeek Stadium NWSL+ 4 p.m.
Saturday, October 12 North Carolina Courage Angel City FC WakeMed Soccer Park ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 12 Bay FC Kansas City Current PayPal Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, October 13 Utah Royals FC Seattle Reign FC America First Field ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 13 Washington Spirit Racing Louisville FC Audi Field NWSL+ 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 13 San Diego Wave FC Houston Dash Snapdragon Stadium NWSL+ 8 p.m.
Friday, October 18 Seattle Reign FC Houston Dash Lumen Field Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, October 19 Kansas City Current San Diego Wave FC CPKC Stadium CBS, Paramount+ 1 p.m.
Saturday, October 19 Racing Louisville FC Portland Thorns FC Lynn Family Stadium ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 19 Bay FC North Carolina Courage PayPal Park ION 10 p.m.
Sunday, October 20 NJ/NY Gotham FC Orlando Pride Red Bull Arena ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 20 Washington Spirit Chicago Red Stars Audi Field NWSL+ 5 p.m.
Sunday, October 20 Angel City FC Utah Royals FC BMO Stadium NWSL+ 7:30 p.m.
Friday, November 1 Utah Royals FC NJ/NY Gotham FC America First Field NWSL+ 9:30 p.m.
Friday, November 1 Portland Thorns FC Angel City FC Providence Park Prime Video 10 p.m.
Saturday, November 2 Orlando Pride Seattle Reign FC Inter&Co Stadium ION 5 p.m.
Saturday, November 2 North Carolina Courage Washington Spirit WakeMed Soccer Park ION 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 2 Houston Dash Bay FC Shell Energy Stadium ION 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 3 Chicago Red Stars Kansas City Current SeatGeek Stadium ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 3 p.m.
Sunday, November 3 San Diego Wave FC Racing Louisville FC Snapdragon Stadium ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN+ 5:30 p.m.

National Women’s Soccer League Inks $240 Million Broadcast, Streaming Deal With Prime Video, Paramount+, ESPN+, Scripps

The upstart National Women’s Soccer League Nov. 13 announced a four-year $240 million broadcast and streaming rights deal with Prime Video, CBS/Paramount+, ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ and Scripps/Ion.

The landmark deal significantly ups the one-year-old professional women’s soccer league’s annual broadcast rights revenue from $1.5 million to $60 million.

The media companies will split up broadcasting/streaming select games nationwide. Games not selected for national distribution will be streamed on the NWSL’s dedicated streaming service.

“These [media] partnerships fundamentally change the game for our league and the players who take the pitch each week,” Jessica Berman, commissioner of the NWSL, said in a statement.  “We have taken great care to ensure our games are discoverable by increasing our reach in order to expose new audiences to everything that makes our league special, without compromising the economic value of our product. This is the beginning of our future.”

The league just ended its inaugural season over the weekend with Gotham FC besting OL Reign 2-1 — a championship match that saw two-time world cup winners Megan Rapinoe and Ali Krieger end their careers.

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Disney+ Adds Nearly 7 Million Q4 Global Subs, Including 500,000 in the U.S.

The Walt Disney Co. Nov. 8 reported that its branded Disney+ subscription streaming service added nearly 7 million subscribers in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30 — driven in part by access to theatrical titles Elemental, Little Mermaid and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3., the original series “Ahsoka,” and the Korean original series “Moving.”

The streamer ended the quarter with 112.6 million subscribers, excluding India’s Disney+ Hotstar, up 7% from 105.7 million subs in the previous-year period. Disney+ Hotstar, which Disney is reportedly looking to sell, lost 2.8 million subs to end the period with 37.6 million subs.

Notably, Disney’s recently-launched ad-supported Disney+ option ended the quarter with 5.2 million subs, up 2 million subs from the third quarter ended June 30.

Overall, Disney+ ended the quarter with 150.2 million subs, up nearly 3% from 146.1 million subs at the end of the same period last year.

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Hulu, of which Disney acquired 100% control earlier this month, ended the quarter with 48.5 million subs, up 200,000 subs from the previous-year period. The tally includes a gain of 300,000 Hulu + Live TV subs, and the loss of 100,000 Hulu subscription streaming subscribers, ending the quarter with 43.9 million subs from 44 million subs.

Separately, ESPN+ ended the quarter with 26 million paid subs, up 800,000 subs from 25.2 million subs last year.

Financially, Disney’s direct-to-c0nsumer business unit narrowed its operating loss 70% to $420 million on revenue of more than $5 billion, from a loss of $1.4 billion on revenue of $4.5 billion in the prior year period.

Disney plans to beta launch a bundled Disney+/Hulu option in December, with a nationwide rollout planned for the spring of 2024.

Vizio Smart TVs Get ESPN App, Including Disney Bundle Trio Access

Vizio Sept. 19 announced that the ESPN App, including ESPN+, is available to its smart TV owners.

The free app includes access to live events from a wide range of college and professional sports leagues and organizations, including NCAA College Football, Monday Night Football and other NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and UFC pay-per-view events through a third-party pay-TV service.

The app offers on-demand library access to series such as “Peyton’s Places,” ”Eli’s Places,” “More Than an Athlete,” ”The Captain,” and “Why Not Us,” among others.

Vizio is also marketing to its users the $9.99 monthly ($99.99 annually) Disney Bundle Trio, which includes access to Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

“ESPN has helped revolutionize sports storytelling, and we’re excited to bring live sports from the best leagues and biggest tournaments as well as their ground-breaking originals to Vizio’s users,” Chris Tanquary, senior director of business development at Vizio, said in a statement.

The ESPN App is accessible from the apps catalog on the Vizio Home Screen and provides access to ESPN+, in addition to live-stream access to ESPN’s networks, including ESPN2 and ESPN3, among others, through an affiliated video provider login.

The ESPN App is also featured on VIZIO’s custom-curated Football Kickoff collection for the 2023 pro and college season.

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Disney, Charter Settle Carriage Dispute

The Walt Disney Co. and Charter Communications Sept. 11 announced s multiyear carriage agreement that ends a much-publicized week-and-a-half dispute that saw nearly 15 million Spectrum cable TV subscribers unable to access ESPN, ABC and other Disney channels.

As part of the new deal, the majority of Disney’s networks and stations will be immediately restored to Spectrum’s video customers. In the coming months, the Disney+ basic ad-supported streaming video option will be provided to customers who purchase the Spectrum TV Select package, as part of a wholesale arrangement. ESPN+ will be provided to Spectrum TV Select Plus subscribers.

The pending ESPN flagship direct-to-consumer service will be made available to Spectrum TV Select subscribers upon launch, and Charter will maintain flexibility to offer a range of video packages at varying price points based upon different customer’s viewing preferences.

“This deal recognizes both the continued value of linear television and the growing popularity of streaming services, while addressing the evolving needs of our consumers,” Disney CEO Bob Iger and Charter Communications CEO Chris Winfrey said in a joint statement.

Charter also will use its distribution to offer Disney’s direct-to-consumer services to all of its customers — in particular its large broadband-only customer base — for purchase at retail rates. These include Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, as well as The Disney Bundle.

Effective immediately, Spectrum TV will provide its customers widespread access to a more curated lineup of 19 networks from The Walt Disney Co. Spectrum will continue to carry the ABC Owned Television Stations, Disney Channel, FX and the Nat Geo Channel, in addition to the full ESPN network suite. Networks that will no longer be included in Spectrum TV video packages are Baby TV, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, FXM, FXX, Nat Geo Wild and Nat Geo Mundo.

The parties also have renewed their commitment to combat unauthorized password sharing.

The deal comes just in time for the NFL’s first Monday Night Football game on ESPN. The blackout began Aug. 31, affecting viewership of the U.S. Open tennis tournament and two weekends of college football.

During the blackout, Disney sought to entice Spectrum subscribers seeking Disney content to bypass the cable service with discounted rates for Disney+ and Hulu + Live TV. Charter countered over the weekend by partnering with sports-focused streaming service Fubo TV, which offered Spectrum subscribers a seven-day free trial and discounted rates. With ESPN included within the Fubo TV package, this essentially gave Spectrum subscribers access to sports events that were blocked on their cable package, undercutting some of Disney’s leverage.