Max looks set to move into the sports streaming business in the coming weeks. Warner Bros. Discovery may try to get users hooked by offering live sports at no extra cost for several months before charging extra for them.
When WBD revealed the new-look Max (formerly HBO Max) in April, it indicated that it would reveal plans for live sports streaming at some point this year. The company airs NBA, MLB and NHL games across its linear networks and, according to Bloomberg, it has been working with the leagues to determine if it has the rights to stream the games as well.
The report suggests that Max may offer live sports to subscribers at no extra cost until February or March before WBD starts requiring users to pony up more cash for them. That's because the March Madness college basketball tournament is one of the biggest sports events of the year and WBD may feel that could help it to get users to pay a premium for live sports on Max.
Live sports are big business for media companies and they're one of the safest bets to make. Still, broadcast and cable viewership has been waning for years as consumers' attention shifts elsewhere. Some organizations are trying to face that head on by streaming live sports as well.
Disney is reportedly planning on offering a standalone ESPN streaming service. Paramount+ and Peacock (both of which are run by legacy media companies) place a major focus on live sports. YouTube, meanwhile, now holds the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket. Offering access to baseball, basketball and hockey games could help WBD get people who may have already ditched cable TV to sign up for its service, even if they need to pay more than they would for a base Max plan to watch live games.