The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday announced it is acquiring a 33% stake in BAMTech, a technology services and video streaming company originally formed by Major League Baseball (MLB). Disney will pay $1 billion for the share of the company, and has an option to gain majority ownership of the company in the future.
Disney’s investment in BAMTech – already a global leader in direct-to-consumer streaming services, data analytics and commerce management with nearly 7.5 million total paid subscribers to its clients’ OTT products – will provide capital to accelerate growth of its proprietary video-delivery platform, deliver greater flexibility to clients and develop new technologies and capabilities.
BAMTech will become a key partner in the delivery of streaming video, and will help create a new ESPN-branded multi-sport subscription streaming service in the future. The new, direct to the consumer streaming service will offer content from BAMTech and ESPN, and include live regional, national and international sporting events.
“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 Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “We look forward to working closely with BAMTech as we explore new ways to deliver the unmatched content of The Walt Disney Company across a variety of platforms.”
It should be noted that ESPN content such as SportsCenter and Monday Night Football will not be streamed via the new service. It will feature sports content not currently appearing on ESPN channels, including both MLB and NHL games. (The National Hockey League received a minority interest in BAMTech, as the result of a previous agreement.)