Disney Invests $1B in BAMTech, Plans ESPN Subscription Service
As previously anticipated in the press, the Walt Disney Company made a $1 billion investment in BAMTech, the streaming video company spun out of MLB Advanced Media, giving it a 33 percent ownership. BAMTech being separated from MLBAM was part of the agreement. The $1 billion payment will come in two installments, one now and one in January 2017. Apparently, Disney has to wait for a few checks to clear.
While the deal gives Disney one-third of the company, it has the option to take a majority ownership role in the coming years.
Disney won't just be an owner at BAMTech; it will also be a customer: As part of the agreement, BAMTech will create a multi-sport streaming subscription service under the ESPN brand The service will be sold directly to consumers, and will include content from both ESPN and BAMTech. Sports-lovers will find live streams for regional, national, and international sports events. What they won't find is content currently offered through ESPN's linear networks. Disney is being careful to protect its cable and satellite deals as it launches the direct-to-consumer service. The company promises more details about the launch in the coming months.
BAMTech will take over the day-to-day streaming for Disney properties including the ABC Television Group and ESPN.
The National Hockey League is also a minority owner of BAMTech.
Sports-lovers will find plenty to watch in the OTT service, including hundreds of MLB, NHL, and MLS games, but they won't find a replacement for cable.
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