ESPN, a subsidiary company of Disney, has recently been rumored to be building a live programming package to sell directly to customers over the Internet instead of just through a cable provider. This would not give viewers access to popular leagues such as the NFL, but access to smaller leagues and sports.
They have experimented with this direct to consumer model before when they sold a stream to the Cricket World Cup last year. This new service would likely be similar, offering a monthly subscription fee for access to a variety of these sports games. This may be a good way to stream the 2020 Euro Cup.
There are in this country, in the neighborhood of 100 million people who get paid television. ESPN remains in over 90 percent of those homes. We are focused on what to do for those homes that we’re not in.
–John Skipper in an interview on ReCode
ESPN is a big channel, and something that is in the homes of many paying cable owners. As cordcutting becomes more popular, ESPN will have to think about their strategy for this new market. However, there doesn’t appear to be a large need to immediately pivot.
Assuming this rumor is true, ESPN employees will still be spending a lot of time building infrastructure and working out exactly how this service will function. The company may continue with more experiments, including working with services like Sling TV, but it will be a while before there’s something more concrete.