Amazon angles to join the ESPN roster

Amazon eyes ESPN

Together with

The Future. Amazon is reportedly in talks with Disney to take the available slice of ESPN that’s up for auction — part of Disney CEO Bob Iger’s plan to slim down Disney to its core assets and divest from the linear TV business. A team-up with Amazon could ensure ESPN stays the top player in sports exhibition, even in the streaming age when Apple and YouTube are competing for rights.

Full stream press
Iger is scouting for a partner to take roughly 30% of ESPN (Disney owns 80% of the network, while Hearst Corp. owns 20%), worth an estimated $9 billion.

  • Talks are ongoing, but an Amazon minority acquisition makes sense, considering how the streamer is trying to become more involved with sports.
  • For Disney, it lessens competition with the tech giant (keep your friends close, but your enemies closer).
  • It’ll likely also weaken the bargaining position of sports leagues (the FTC is going to have a field day with this deal).

But a deal hasn’t kicked off quite yet. Verizon and even the major sports leagues are all in discussions for a chance at streaming glory — ESPN remains one of Disney’s big moneymakers and could grow even more with its entrance into sports gambling.

And with the rumored ESPN+ price coming in between $20 and $35 per month (sports rights aren’t cheap, with Disney spending $10 billion annually), shared revenue could be massive if subscribers and advertisers rally for the service.


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