The stage is being set in the next big battle for sports streaming supremacy.
“Disney wants to retain ESPN outright … they don’t want to give it away,” Zegras explained, while also noting that declining viewership of Disney's linear networks may leave no choice. “They really need to transition ESPN streaming as smoothly and as quickly as possible and get it back to profitability to prop up the rest of their business. Finding a partner to dance with seems like the best option right now.”
“It would be net positive if they actually came to some kind of a creative capitalist deal,” says McCullough.
Zegras notes that Amazon already has the streaming capabilities and "the ammo in the treasury to go to war" for ESPN. However, Hedgeye's Telecom & Media Policy analyst Paul Glenchur isn't convinced the deal is possible.
“If the FTC brings this kind of comprehensive antitrust action against Amazon, which seems to be in the works, that could be a big complication," Glenchur adds.
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