Is ESPN Cutting Its Own Cord? An internal project called "Flagship" is mapping out a plan to stream all of ESPN's cable TV content in the coming years.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that ESPN is working on an internal project — code-named "Flagship" — to launch its own subscription streaming service. Catering to the cord-cutters of the world, this move could be bad for cable providers, as ESPN is one of the more popular channels that cable customers look for in their bundle packages, according to the outlet.
But wait, isn't ESPN already on a streaming service? Yes and no. In 2018, the company launched ESPN+, streaming golf events, select pro and college sports, as well as multiple scripted and unscripted shows. The service has 25.3 million subscribers, per WSJ. (An ESPN+ subscription costs $9.99 per month, or $12.99 per month when bundled with Disney+ and Hulu.)
But ESPN+ doesn't offer programming from the ESPN channel — its NBA and NFL broadcasts can only be seen on the TV channel. That's where "Flagship" comes in, bringing every drop of ESPN straight to viewers' streaming devices.
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Insiders told WSJ that ESPN would continue to offer the TV channel on cable after launching its full streaming option, but at this time, did not share details about pricing. On the Walt Disney Company Q2 2023 Earnings Call (Disney owns the majority of ESPN), CEO Robert Iger said: " We think there's an inevitability to [the migration to a streaming platform], but it's a huge decision for us to make, and we know that we've got to get it right, both in terms of pricing and timing."