Since its launch, Disney+ has become a hub for many types of content, including animation, science fiction, musicals and documentaries. Disney+ has, in the last few months, added a slew of ESPN documentaries to their platform, so let’s take a look at if we could ever actually see live sports on Disney+ in the future.
Merging Disney+ and ESPN+ Would Bring A Slew of Content and Issues:
Let’s talk about the first main point, Disney has made agreements with many different sports rights holders, such as the NFL, MLB and NHL, to name a few. With Disney having the rights to show so many live sporting events, surely adding live streams of select games would help boost the amount of content on Disney+ and increase subscribers, right? Well, it’s complicated. Whilst bringing all of ESPN’s documentary library to Disney+ would offer a larger variety of content and would be a massive push in general entertainment for Disney+ in the US, Disney would need to sort out its live streaming feature to allow live sports, as well as making sure they have the legal rights to stream those live games in other countries.
Sports Rights Are Expensive:
This is another huge negative, and it’s pretty simple, sports rights are costly when compared to other types of content. For example, NFL is searching for a deal of around $3 billion dollars for their “Sunday Ticket” games, which Disney apparently bid on but so did tech giants Apple and Amazon. For Disney+ to stream live sports games, they would need to pay hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, to secure the rights, especially when companies with deep pockets like Apple and Amazon start bidding on the same rights. For Disney to afford such rights, they would probably have to increase Disney+’s price again.
Small Crossover Audiences:
This is the biggest reason why Disney+ wouldn’t benefit from live sports, and that’s the fact that the crossover audience for live sports and your standard film or television series, for example, someone might watch an NFL game on Disney+ and might watch a movie based on the sport like “Remember The Titans” or “Safety”, however, the same people who stream NFL games on Disney+ would probably be uninterested in Disney+ content like “Snowdrop” or “The Mandalorian”.
The audience for sports programming and Disney+’s massive content library is slim if you discount any sport-related documentaries, films, or series, as many NFL fans, for example, aren’t going to sit down and watch “Sleeping Beauty” or “Toy Story” or “Turning Red”.
Whilst on paper, Disney+ streaming live sports seems like a good concept, in execution, Disney would need to fork out billions for the rights, make sure they can secure international rights and would also need to make sure their streams don’t end up being just buffers. Disney+, in my humble opinion, Disney+ shouldn’t get involved in live streaming sports and instead should focus on bringing over more ESPN documentaries and classic Disney sports films like the “Angels In The Outfield” franchise. Whilst Disney’s competitors like Apple and Amazon spend billions on streaming rights, Disney+’s budget would be better spent on remastering classic titles, adding new features or making new original content.
What Do You Think? Should Disney+ Offer Live Sports Programming?