The Walt Disney Company just announced that it’s paying $1 billion for a 33 percent stake in BAMTech, the video streaming company created by Major League Baseball.
As a result of the deal, BAMTech is also spinning out of MLB’s broader digital media business, MLB Advanced Media.
BAMTech’s clients aren’t limited to baseball (they include HBO Now, the National Hockey League, the PGA Tour and the WWE Network), and Disney says it will be working on its own streaming efforts with the company. In fact, those efforts will include a new multi-sport subscription service from Disney-owned ESPN.
“Our investment in BAMTech gives us the technology infrastructure we need to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our company,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in the announcement.
Disney says it will share more details about the new “ESPN-branded” service “in the months ahead,” but it notes that the service won’t include current content from ESPN’s TV channels.
The $1 billion payment will be made in two installments, one now and one in January. Disney says it also has the option to acquire a majority stake in BAMTech.
Bloomberg reported more than a month ago that the deal was in the works, while Iger has also been saying it’s inevitable that ESPN will offer a direct-to-consumer service.