Disney has announced that it has signed a new multi-year, multi-platform agreement with Foxtel in Australia to keep ESPN sports programming on Foxtel and Kayo Sports.
The agreement builds on the 21 years of programming arrangements between the Foxtel Group and ESPN, which has been providing world-class sports to Australian audiences since 2002.
ESPN boasts the most comprehensive set of rights to elite United States leagues – such as the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB), UFC and all marquee events across US College Sports – with this agreement ensuring select matches will be available to Foxtel and Kayo Sports subscribers each week during those seasons.
ESPN is also Australia’s ‘Home of Hoops’ through its rights to the NBA, National Basketball League (NBL), FIBA competitions (including the upcoming 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup), WNBA, WNBL and US College Basketball.
In addition to enhancing Foxtel Group’s live sports offering, ESPN also provides access to a huge volume of original programming, including flagship studio shows like SportsCenter, First Take, Pardon The Interruption, NBA Today and NFL Primetime, along with documentaries and special features, including ESPN Films 30 for 30 catalogue.
Foxtel Group Executive Director – Commercial, Sport Rebecca McCloy, said in a statement:
“We are proud to be the home of Australia’s biggest and most popular sports through Foxtel and Kayo Sports – it’s great news for our millions of sports subscribers that this deal will ensure they continue to have access to the best of ESPN’s world-class sports.
We know how popular ESPN’s coverage of sports like the NBA, NFL and MLB is with our subscribers. This deal complements long-term rights agreements we have with the National Rugby League, Cricket Australia, the Australian Football League, Supercars Australia, the PGA of Australia, Netball Australia and many others – which show that we truly are the home of Australia’s most popular local and global sports.
These rights, and the strength and quality of coverage from Fox Sports and partners like ESPN, is continuing to drive the growth of our award-winning streaming service Kayo Sports – which now has more than 1.3 million subscribers.”
The Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand Senior Vice President & Managing Director, Kylie Watson-Wheeler, added:
“We are pleased to extend our long-standing relationship with Foxtel Group. This multi-year deal provides Australian sports fans with access to a comprehensive slate of ESPN programming, including our award-winning films, flagship studio shows and extensive major sport properties.
ESPN is the global sports leader with coverage of the world’s biggest sporting events, like the 2023 NFL Super Bowl, which delivered a record-breaking audience for the network locally. Viewership is growing strongly across NBA and NFL programming and attracting a highly desirable audience aged 39 or younger.
“Australians clearly love their sports and have an ever-growing appetite for the US major leagues, which makes ESPN programming so highly viewed and valued across all platforms it is delivered.”
Earlier this week, Disney announced it was closing down its ESPN Player app across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, spreading its content onto other channel networks and streaming services. With this contract extension in Australia, it’s clear that Disney is not looking to incorporate ESPN into Disney+ globally and instead license out its sports content. Disney’s CEO Bob Iger, also recently revealed in an interview that they were looking for a strategic partner to invest in ESPN.
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Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.