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What sports fans should know about a new streaming service| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery announced Tuesday that they would team up and sell access to all the sports they televise. a new streaming service. It will be available this fall, but many other details are not yet known, such as pricing or who will run the service.

The subtext of the deal – and of most decisions made by media companies – is that the cable package is collapsing. A decade ago, about 100 million households in the United States subscribed to a package of cable or satellite television channels. Today, that number is around 70 million and continues to decline.

Media companies know that young adults no longer subscribe to cable and that their best customers are also older ones. They know that people no longer think of “television,” but are used to “content” that can be seen on a television, a phone or some other device.

Cable's days seem numbered, but right now it remains a profitable business (streaming, for most companies, is not) and the largest audiences for programs, especially sports, still exist on traditional television. So how do media companies get from where they are today to where they will be?

With, they hope, agreements like the one announced this week.

Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have grouped together 14 of their channels that show sports; full list includes ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, SEC Network, ACC Network, ESPNews, Fox, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Big Ten. Network, TNT, TBS and truTV, and the ESPN+ streaming service, and will sell them as a single package.

That was not announced. But you can expect it to cost more than the $15 a month that most streaming companies charge, and less than the $100 a month it costs to subscribe to a pay-TV package. The ads will be shown on the new service.

Both, more or less. It's definitely a streaming service that you'll be able to subscribe to and watch on a variety of devices. But instead of a menu of different shows to watch on demand, there will be channels that you can watch live, just like cable customers do.

As a result, this means that subscribers to the service will also be able to watch the non-sports shows these channels televise, such as “The Simpsons” and “The Bachelor.”

Contracts between networks and leagues are usually specific about where games can be shown. Due to fear of a smaller audience, most leagues have been hesitant to allow too many games to leave broadcast and cable channels and move entirely to streaming. But this new service is structured in such a way that it offers everything on the included channels: sports and non-sports content alike. That makes it more like existing cable packages and means companies didn't need to get permission from the leagues to show games on the service.

No. Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery have paid for the right to show a lot of sports, but they don't own the rights to all of them.

NBC, CBS, Amazon and other smaller players are not part of this deal. So if you want to watch the sports they have rights to (which include a lot of the National Football League, golf racing and the PGA Tour, the men's college basketball tournament, the Olympics and the English Premier League, among others), you will still be able to watch the sports they have rights to. You have to subscribe to those channels.

Well, you subscribe to a pay television package, or in the case of Amazon, Amazon Prime. You can get what's shown on CBS and NBC with a cheap digital antenna, but if you want to watch the games on USA or CBS Sports Network, you'll have to get a pay TV package. For any game exclusively on NBC's Peacock streaming service (like this season's NFL playoff game between Kansas City and Miami) or CBS' Paramount+ streaming service, you'll need to subscribe to them.


Hardcore sports fans may not want to do this. But this service takes many sports that were available on cable and sells them in a different way. If you're interested in all sports or non-sports channels like Food Network or Nickelodeon, it's probably not for you.

But if you paid the one-time cost of a digital antenna and then purchased this package, you could watch a large percentage of all the sports shown on television for a price that is probably much cheaper than a cable subscription.

It might also be worth it if you're only a fan of a few sports. Do you like the National Basketball Association? You can get 100 percent of the nationally televised game through this package. Do you like a smaller college sport, like volleyball? You can get most of it through this package.

It probably isn't. Right now, your options are to pay for a TV package (and a handful of streaming services) to watch it all, get a digital antenna and watch the NFL and a few other major events on traditional TV, or not watch sports at all.

One day, you might be able to pay for individual games a la carte, or some service could bundle all sports together and somehow offer them for a lower price than a cable subscription. This package can serve as a bridge to that future for some sports fans.

Blame companies for not having a name. They just call it a “joint venture.”

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