ESPN reportedly prepping direct-to-consumer streaming service

ESPN will take a low-risk step into the realm of direct-to-consumer streaming with a new live service focused on niche sports.

According to The Information, the new service will focus on "niche leagues" and college sports, leaving out major leagues like the NBA and NFL, for which Disney-owned ESPN pays billions of dollars to show in the pay-TV ecosystem.

ESPN reps didn't immediately respond to FierceCable's inquiry for comment. 

Details are thin as to what sports would be included in the streaming package, or when it would launch.

ESPN charges the highest licensing rate in the multichannel universe. But it's losing linear subscribers, and like everyone else, trying to figure out what works with younger consumers who tend to shun pay-TV.

Last year, ESPN streamed the Cricket World Cup directly to consumers, showing 49 matches over six weeks for $100. 

Last month, Disney reportedly bought a stake in streaming technology company Major League Baseball Advanced Media — a move that could be a precursor to the launch of a live streaming service. 

For more:
- read this story from The Information (sub. req.)
- read this Ubergizmo story

Related articles:
ESPN will launch stripped-down direct-to-consumer platform in 2016, analyst predicts
Disney reportedly buys stake in $3.5B MLB Advanced Media streaming unit"
ESPN lost another 1.5M subs from February to May, Nielsen says

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