Is Launching a Super Sports Streaming Service in MENA the Best Idea of 2024?
A deep dive into the ESPN, Fox, and WBD joint venture, while dreaming up a collaboration between local MENA players
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ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery have announced their joint venture to launch a streaming sports service in the US. Today, I’ll tell you everything you should know about this project and dream about a similar one in Middle East & North Africa.
A deep dive into the ESPN, Fox and WBD joint venture
Dreaming up a collaboration between local MENA players
Why this could be awesome (or maybe not)
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A Deep dive into the ESPN, Fox and WBD joint venture
Who? The upcoming service involves 3 major players in the US: ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery. These companies are coming together to combine their sports network portfolios and D2C sports services under a single streaming platform.
When? The planned launch date for this streaming service is fall 2024. This timeline gives the companies involved limited time to finalize their rights discussions, curate their sports content offerings and test the platform.
Where? The service will be available in the US only, accessible directly to consumers through a newly developed platform.
Why? The motivation behind this venture is to provide a one-stop-shop for sports content to sports fans looking for alternatives to traditional cable. The partnership will leverage the combined strength of ESPN, Fox and WBD and secure the evolving demands of viewers.
What? The new streaming service will be operating under a new brand, managed by an independent team. This platform will aggregate sports content licensed on a non-exclusive basis from ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, and will offer options to bundle with Disney+, Hulu, and Max. Pricing and subscription details are still to be announced, but the cost is expected to be competitive.
The 3 companies will bring an extensive range of sports content: Fox brings NFL, MLB, NCAA football and basketball to the table, WBD contributes with NBA games and Disney's ESPN is a sports powerhouse on its own.
Check out the lineup below to see what's in store:
Enough talking about the US, Let's focus on the MENA region now.
Dreaming up a collaboration between local MENA players
Today, I would like to imagine a partnership between the local streaming players in MENA and see if such a project would make sense. Let’s start by listing the key platforms that offer sports content in the region.
If you've been reading my newsletter, you know that I've covered both local and international streaming services offering sports content in MENA. Here are some articles I wrote in the past 2 years:
I’ve decided to include in my imaginary super sports streaming service the following players (and their sports rights ;)
TOD - Bein Media Group
Shahid - MBC Group
STARZPLAY - e& Group
ADtv - Abu Dhabi Media
Awaan - Dubai Media
Smashi - Augustus Media
The objective is to provide a one-stop-shop for sports content, mixing international and local leagues and tournaments. Check out the lineup I imagined ↓
This new venture would not only offer amazing sports but also bring premium platform capabilities dedicated to sports content:
Real-time data visualization: lineup, team Stats, top players, etc.
Commentary with highlights
Multi-angle and picture-in-picture
360° video support
monetization and e-commerce functionality
Localized user experience
One more thing, what would be the best pricing strategy for this service?
The pricing models of local sports services are very different, ranging from AVOD and FAST to pure SVOD:
TOD: TOD Mobile USD 10/month, TOD USD 18/month, TOD 4K USD 30/month
Shahid: VIP Sports: USD 19/month + sports FAST channels
STARZPLAY: STARZPLAY Sports: USD 11/Month + sports FAST channels
Smashi: AED 8/Month
I believe a subscription price around USD 30/month would make this service appealing.
Why a super sports streaming Service in MENA could be awesome (or maybe not)
On paper, launching a super sports streaming service in MENA seems promising. Let's explore the pros and cons of such a project:
YES, a super sports streaming service in MENA is what we need. It will…
Facilitate access to international leagues & tournaments with one subscription.
Give local MENA sports the platform and visibility they deserve to captivate a wider audience.
Help local streamers secure sports rights against the future initiatives of global tech giants.
Offer innovate models dedicated to sports content: free highlights, ad-supported games on mobile, season pass subscriptions, pay-per-view, etc.
Foster collaboration with local Telecom providers to bundle and distribute the service.
Bring cutting-edge platform features that enhance the sports viewing experience.
Attract significant advertiser interest by showcasing the platform’s reach and engagement, offering an opportunity for brands to connect with sports fans.
Unite local players to negotiate exclusive sports rights and set the platform apart.
NO, this is not happening. Because…
Creating a new independent management team comes with prohibitive expenses.
Global streaming services show little interest for investing in sports content in MENA.
Owners of sports rights are unlikely to accept this project.
A significant number of sports fans are only interested in one particular sport.
It will be complex to distribute advertising income fairly among partners.
There would be obstacles to effectively bundle this service with existing D2C entertainment packages.
What’s your take on this?
That’s all for today, analyzing the potential of a super sports streaming service in the MENA Region. If you enjoyed this breakdown, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues!
I hope everyone has a great week, see you online next Monday. Until then, enjoy Super Bowl LVIII on DAZN (Yes, DAZN is now available in MENA 😉).
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