The ESPN, Fox, and Warner Deal: A Middle Men Destruction Event, Including Their Own

The novel partnership between ESPN, Fox, and Warner is a dream come true for sports fans amidst the streaming wars. Instead of juggling various apps, illegal streams, and cable, along with borrowing passwords and logins, fans can now watch games with ease on a single service. There’s a good chance that NBC Universal and CBS will team up as well after witnessing the revenue generated by the trio’s direct-to-consumer sports model.

The consolidation of the three major networks also reflects the American consumer’s inclination towards monopolies. Many of the middlemen in the streaming industry, such as Fubo, Sling, Hulu, and YouTubeTV, may find themselves in jeopardy as cord-cutters’ demand for live sports diminishes.

The deal between Disney, who owns ESPN and Hulu, along with Fox and Warner, is indeed surprising. Disney’s decision to team up with rival networks has put a strain on its own Hulu + Live TV package, despite its success with original content like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Only Murderers in the Building.”

It is worth noting that Disney’s new sports package will be bundled with Disney+, Hulu, and Max, suggesting that Hulu’s live TV option is being disregarded. However, these sacrifices were necessary for Disney to eliminate competition.

This move was designed to eradicate middlemen, cable companies, and hopes for affordable cord-cutting options. The implication is that fans will bear the rising costs, which will benefit the networks and sports entities.

In light of these developments, Netflix may need to reassess the substantial investment it has made in non-self-sustainable content and consider shifting its resources to desperate sports entities. Similarly, Amazon’s association with Diamond Sports/Bally and Apple’s acquisition of MLB and MLS rights seem prescient. Alphabet’s grasp of the NFL Sunday Ticket reflects the importance of valuable sports content in the modern entertainment landscape.

Overall, it is undeniable that precious sports commodities are also the most expensive. Networks like ESPN, Fox, and Warner seem to have recognized this, and unfortunately, fans are likely to bear the burden of the escalating costs.