The Future. After years of flip-flopping, a new report says that Disney is definitely going to make ESPN a standalone streaming service. The move may be a final turning point for cable, which routinely relies on the inclusion of ESPN (and its many offshoot channels) as a deal-closer for getting people to continue paying for cable subscriptions.
ESPN will likely break free of traditional TV.
- Disney has been renegotiating deals with cable providers and pro sports leagues to secure more flexibility in eventually launching ESPN as a standalone streaming service.
- The project, dubbed “Flagship,” would bring all of the channel’s programming to streaming, as opposed to the limited offerings of ESPN+.
- ESPN will still be available in traditional cable packages and other digital distributors — 74 million people currently have access to the channel, but that number shrinks yearly.
Disney hasn’t provided a date for when ESPN would untether from cable, but the company would probably like to sooner than later, considering the streaming wars have made sports rights the new battleground.