Venu Sports is the name for the ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. streaming service

May 16, 2024
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A new sports streaming service is coming later this year. We’ve known for months who is working on the service; it’s a co-venture from ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Now, we also know what it’s going to be called: Venu Sports.

The naming announcement comes a few months after the three networks said they were planning to launch a “differentiated sports-centric service,” a much-needed simplification of an increasingly chaotic sports streaming landscape. Sports rights are more expensive than ever and are being split up among more partners than ever, so having a way to share costs, infrastructure, and content makes a lot of sense.

Initially, insiders took to calling the service Hulu For Sports, or Spulu for short. The actual name — which I’m assuming is pronounced like “venue,” only with a much more trademarkable spelling and a .com domain that was surely easier to acquire — definitely rolls off the tongue a bit better than “Spulu.” Venu Sports is meant to give sports fans a single place (a venue, if you will) to watch everything they care about.

It’s definitely better than “Spulu”

The Fox, ESPN, and Warner Bros. combo does account for a lot of sports: Venu will presumably have access to all the ESPN channels and ESPN Plus content, plus ABC, Fox, Fox Sports, TNT, TBS, and everything you’d find on Max through Bleacher Report. Without partners like Paramount and NBC on board, though, it’s missing big-ticket things like the Olympics this summer and much of the NFL.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Venu itself, too. How much will it cost? What will it look like? Will it compete for streaming rights on its own or just coast on its owners’ existing deals? Will it pass regulatory scrutiny and be allowed to launch at all? How does this change Disney’s plan to bring ESPN into Disney Plus or launch a streaming-only version of the ESPN channel next year?

There have been questions about the three companies’ ability to find a deal that works for everyone, and those questions won’t go away even when and if Venu actually launches. Even Venu’s press release today acknowledges that “the formation and launch of the new service is subject to regulatory approval and the finalization of definitive agreements amongst the parties.” The service is apparently on schedule to launch this fall, but it’s not done yet.

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