×

Time Inc.-Backed 120 Sports to Launch Internet Video Network with MLB and Other Leagues

Startup venture 120 Sports is looking to create a kind of next-gen ESPN — but without any live games, and lacking content from the NFL, the most popular sports league in America.

The company, whose equity investors include Time Inc., MLB Advanced Media and digital media firm Silver Chalice, announced plans to debut a live-streaming 24-hour online network this spring with sports content from MLB, NHL, NBA and other partners.

The 120 Sports service, free for consumers to watch across multiple devices, will integrate video and data “in ways fans haven’t experienced before,” according to the venture. Silver Chalice will oversee production and business operations. Production headquarters for 120 Sports will be in Chicago at a custom-designed facility on the campus of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios.

Notably absent from 120 Sports’ lineup is the National Football League — which itself is gearing up to launch a live, personalized Internet video service this summer, dubbed NFL Now.

The total investment in 120 Sports is not being disclosed, according to spokesman Emigdio Gamboa. The venture has more than 100 full-time production, talent and marketing staff. Jason Coyle, previously Silver Chalice’s COO, was named president of 120 Sports to lead day-to-day operations.

Popular on Variety

At launch, content partners will include Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated, the NHL, NBA, MLB.com, NASCAR and collegiate conferences via Campus Insiders, a joint venture between IMG College and Chicago-based digital sports-media company Silver Chalice.

“120 Sports is an innovative, addictive product that will give sports fans an amazing amount of always-on sports content and great technology so they can engage with news and highlights wherever they are,” Time Inc. exec VP Todd Larsen said in a statement. “The product will offer Sports Illustrated fans a terrific complement to our editorial coverage, and as a business partner Time Inc. will have a stake in an enterprise with tremendous promise.”

Time Inc. earlier this month disclosed that it will lay off a significant number of employees, reportedly as many as 500, as the publishing division prepares to be spun off by parent Time Warner. That separation is to occur in the second quarter of 2014, according to Time Warner execs.

The 120 Sports service will be created and powered by MLBAM’s technology infrastructure and mobile app development, debuting on apps and 120Sports.com as well as other distribution outlets. The venture said it expects to launch a premium content offering in 2015.

Bob Bowman, president and CEO of MLBAM, added that “this is the right time to collaborate across the infrastructure of sports properties as we take the collective assets of each partner directly to fans on their favorite devices.”

The 120 Sports name comes from its concept of running programming in 2-minute segments. The 120 Sports lineup will feature original and hosted programming including game footage, analysis, conversation and social commentary from players, other sports personalities and fans.

Silver Chalice and Sports Illustrated’s national sales organizations will lead all sales and marketing, while Sports Illustrated and Time Inc. will also provide operational and business development support.

More Digital

  • Vudu

    NBCUniversal in Talks to Buy Walmart's Vudu

    Comcast’s NBCUniversal is looking to add some Vudu into its streaming-video mix. The media conglomerate is in talks to buy Vudu, the Walmart-owned entertainment rental, download and free-streaming service, sources confirm to Variety. It’s unclear what the terms of the pact would be or the timing. News of NBCU’s interest in Vudu was first reported [...]

  • Tubi

    Fox in Talks to Acquire Free-Streaming Service Tubi for Over $500 Million (Report)

    Fox Corp. is in discussions about acquiring Tubi, the ad-supported free streaming service, in a deal worth more than $500 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report citing anonymous sources. With Tubi, Rupert Murdoch’s TV broadcasting and cable company would be adding a dedicated streaming component — offering over 20,000 older TV shows and [...]

  • Zombies 2 Disney Channel

    How Disney Channel's 'Zombies 2' Production Team Made Monsters Kid-Friendly

    Traditionally spooky creatures like zombies and werewolves get the Disney treatment in “Zombies 2,” the follow-up to the 2018 hit TV-movie musical of the same name. While the undead have now assimilated into the community of Seabrook, they’re confronted by a new set of outsiders: werewolves. Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly return as Zed and [...]

  • Baby Yoda - The Child Animatronic

    Hasbro's Adorable Baby Yoda Animatronic Toy Is Already Sold Out on Disney's Online Store

    The Force remains strong for toys based on Baby Yoda, the breakout star of Disney Plus original series “The Mandalorian.” Less than a day after becoming available for pre-order, Hasbro’s new $59.99 Baby Yoda animatronic toy is no longer available on Disney’s official online store: As of Friday morning, Shop Disney listed it as “sold [...]

  • BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday

    BTS Leads Spotify’s New Music Friday Playlist Rebrand

    Spotify has launched a global rebrand of its popular New Music Friday playlist, which this week features BTS, The Weeknd, Noah Cyrus, Trippie Redd, Kenny Chesney, Rei Ami and others. The revamped playlist, which has 43 versions worldwide, has more than 3.5 million followers in the US and eight million globally. New elements include a [...]

  • The Witcher - Netflix

    'The Witcher' Season 2 Production Starts in U.K., Adds Seven to Cast Including 'Game of Thrones' Star Kristofer Hivju

    Production on fantasy epic “The Witcher” Season 2 has commenced in the U.K., with a planned launch in 2021, Netflix announced. The show also announced seven new cast members joining “The Witcher” for S2, including Kristofer Hivju, the Norwegian actor who played the red-bearded wilding leader Tormund Giantsbane on “Game of Thrones.” Netflix last month [...]

  • Disney Plus - Vizio

    Disney Plus Is Now on Vizio Smart TVs in Native App

    Disney Plus is available on Vizio’s SmartCast TV platform as a built-in app, making the Mouse House’s subscription-streaming service accessible directly to users of the manufacturer’s 13 million SmartCast-enabled televisions. Previously, Vizio users have been able to stream Disney Plus on SmartCast TVs through Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast. But with the Disney Plus update, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content