Warner Bros Discovery’s recent rebrand of HBO Max to Max has left sports conspicuously absent from their announcement.
Despite being the current home of US Soccer rights and broadcasting select NHL and NBA games on linear TV, HBO Max has not been known as a go-to platform for sports streaming.
However, during a recent press event, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav mentioned that sports, along with live streaming of news content, will be a major part of their future plans.
Zaslav stated that in a few months, they will reveal details of their “attack plan” to use live content to further grow their streaming business. This could potentially mean more soccer coverage on Max.
However, with TV and streaming rights for soccer leagues commanding record-breaking prices, Warner Bros Discovery may be hesitant to fully transition to streaming, given the significant ad revenue generated by pay-TV subscriptions to TBS and TNT.
Charging consumers for soccer content also poses a challenge, as evidenced by Apple’s struggles with MLS fans balking at paying $14.99 per month for access to just one league.
There have been discussions about a potential sports-only tier for Max, similar to ESPN+, which offers NHL, soccer, and other sports. The challenge then becomes attracting subscribers to yet another streaming service.
Warner Bros Discovery will need to carefully navigate these challenges as they consider their options for soccer streaming and the overall growth of their streaming business.