Warner Bros. Discovery is targeting maximum streaming sports tier for October

MLB’s Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez was the 2022 American League Rookie of the Year.

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Warner Bros. Discovery According to people familiar with the matter, the company has targeted the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs as a goal for launching a sports tier for its Max streaming service.

The company plans to simultaneously broadcast MLB, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and National Collegiate Athletics Association games, including collegiate basketball’s March Madness, to Max. In addition, the company intends to add content from its sports media outlet, Bleacher Report, such as highlights and interviews.

Warner Bros. Discovery plans to brand the new tier as the Bleacher Report, the people said. The company wants to appeal to a younger audience, who are increasingly eschewing the traditional pay-TV package and more aligned with a digital sports brand like Bleacher Report.

Time Warner acquired Bleacher Report in 2012. The company has operated as a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery since WarnerMedia and Discovery merged last year.

Warner Bros. Discovery executives hinted at charging users more for esports during last week’s second-quarter earnings conference call. CEO David Zaslav indicated that customers would be “hearing from us soon”. The company announced last week that it ended its second quarter with 95.8 million global direct-to-consumer streaming subscribers.

“In our view, esports is a premier offering with a very focused and passionate fanbase that generally…needs to be monetized incrementally,” said JB Perrette, CEO and president of Global Streaming and Games, during the conference call.

Current discussions revolve around Max concurrently showing MLB playoff games on TBS and Max, said people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. No MLB games would appear exclusively on Max.

The MLB playoffs begin October 3rd.

Adding the NBA

The NBA, whose regular season begins Oct. 24, has discussed a similar arrangement with Warner Bros. Discovery, under which only games televised on the TNT cable network would be simultaneously broadcast on Max, people familiar with the matter said.

Any exclusive Max games would not begin until next year at the earliest and would likely be part of the NBA’s rights renewal agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery, the people said.

The NBA has an exclusive window it can use to negotiate new TV rights Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery, its current broadcast partners, ending in April 2024.

Warner Bros. Discovery has not yet finalized pricing for the proposed sports category, people said. Max currently costs $15.99 per month with no ads or $9.99 per month with ads.

A spokesman for Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment.

WATCH: Warner Bros. Discovery loses subscribers after Max launch, but shares rise on deleveraging

https://www.cnbc.com/2023/08/07/warner-bros-discovery-targets-max-streaming-sports-tier-for-october.html Warner Bros. Discovery is targeting maximum streaming sports tier for October


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