Warner Bros. Discovery adds sports tier to Max in the US

Warner Bros. Discovery Sports and WBD premium streamer Max are to add a new sports tier to their offering in the US in association with its own Bleacher Report digital sports offering.

The media giant will add its Bleacher Report (B/R) Sports Add-On tier to Max starting October 5.

The package will deliver a full slate of premium live sports, including MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA Men’s March Madness, and U.S. Soccer events, The Match, Emmy Award-winning studio shows such as Inside the NBA, live video content from B/R covering an array of sports, select live international sports events such as 24 Hours of Le Mans, and extensive VOD content.

The company said the move will mark the first time that fans will have access on streaming platforms, in addition to linear, to WBD’s portfolio of premium live sports content, including more than 300 live games each year.

The addition fulfills a promise made by WBD CEO David Zaslav to add sports to the streaming service.

Speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia and Technology conference recently, Zaslav said sport would also be added to Max, with more details to come. Zaslav said that “sport is a big advantage to us” and he believes the combination would work.

“We have offered sports in different ways. In Europe it is mostly offered as an add on,” he said. In th US, sport is bundled in but the cost of sports has increased, leading to many distributors saying they would “do without it”, he said.

It was possible that a national sports streaming platform would shift the market, said Zaslav. He would not however be drawn on whether WBD would offer sport on an à la carte basis, saying that the bundling of news and sports “worked well”.

On the renewal of a rights agreement with the NBA, Zaslav said he “would like to have this” but added that WBD was very much focused on cash flow and its balance sheet. “We are not going to sacrifice the health of the company…for any IP,” he said.

Launch plan

The B/R Sports Add-On will premiere, in time for the MLB Postseason, beginning with the National League Division Series on October 7, the start of the NHL regular season and NBA Opening Night. Following a promotional period until February 29, during which the package will be available to US subscribers for no additional charge, the offering will be made available as an add-on to all Max entertainment packages Max With Ads, Max Ad-Free and Max Ultimate Ad-Free for US$9.99 per month.

All live games airing on a Warner Bros. Discovery linear network (such as TNT, TBS and truTV) will be available on Max through the B/R Sports Add-On. In addition to live game coverage, the service will offer live pre- and post-game programming and extensive VOD content.

Additionally, Bleacher Report’s live video, including coverage of the NFL Draft, vodcasts and full slate of Creator League competitions, among others, will be available on Max through the B/R Sports Add-On.

WBD Sports is home to live sports content including MLB regular season and MLB Postseason games (such as the National League Division Series and Championship Series in 2023), the NHL regular season, Winter Classic and Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBA Opening Night and regular season action, the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament, NBA All-Star and expansive NBA Playoffs coverage (including the exclusive presentation of the NBA Western Conference Finals in 2024), March Madness — the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship (including The Final Four in 2024) , U.S. Soccer Women’s and Men’s National Team games and The Match.

“We’re thrilled to offer WBD’s incredible portfolio of premium U.S. live sports – featuring simulcasts of our must-see MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA and U.S. Soccer events, among others – as part of B/R Sports Add-On’s wide assortment of compelling multi-sport content on Max. The greatest collection of Entertainment, News and now Sports all in one place…this makes Max the most complete streaming service for consumers and reaffirms why Max is truly The One To Watch,” said JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games.

“We want to be everywhere sports fans are and our unparalleled offering of leading sports, combined with the power of the Bleacher Report brand and content, including the unique way B/R engages with young sports fans, all delivered through the new Max platform will enable us to broaden our audience and delight new fans. We are uniquely positioned to offer viewers the best selection of premium sports and exciting events and fan-focused additional programming, all within a fantastic multi-sport product that will meet the evolving consumption needs of our viewers – both casual and hardcore sports fans,” said Luis Silberwasser, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.

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