×

Turner Sports Unveils ‘Bleacher Report Live’ Pay-Streaming Service

Direct-to-consumer service's lineup to include UEFA soccer, NBA League Pass games

Turner Sports has kicked off and tipped off its move into the direct-to-consumer streaming world.

The new Bleacher Report Live service, slated to debut in April, will carry thousands of live sporting events. Those include UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League soccer matches, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA championship events, the PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, the Spring League pro-football scouting event, Red Bull Global Rallycross and World Armwrestling League.

Turner didn’t announce pricing for B/R Live but said it will have “flexible pricing options” for direct access to live games on a per-event or subscription basis. The over-the-top streaming service will be available for iOS and Android devices and on the web, with connected-TV platforms in the works slated to launch in time for the start of Europe’s UEFA Champions League season this summer.

In the first few months, B/R Live will be available for free in a bid to attract users, before Turner puts up a paywall starting in the summer of 2018. Going forward, the games carried on B/R Live “will always be available on a per-event basis. That’s very important,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports, at a press conference Tuesday at Bleacher Report’s New York offices.

With the direct-to-consumer B/R Live offering, Turner has “the opportunity to engage fans when and where it suits them,” Turner president David Levy said at the press event.

Bleacher Report Live will carry reduced pricing for NBA League Pass, the out-of-market live basketball streaming service, starting with the 2018-19 season, according to Turner. Turner Sports operates NBA League Pass in partnership with the league.

Interestingly, B/R Live will let users buy only a portion of NBA games that are already in progress, instead of (as with the existing model) a full subscription to a package of games. Under the “micro-transaction” model, fans will be able to pay perhaps 99 cents for five minutes of live action, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said at the Turner event.

“When you have a two-and-a-half-hour event, some fans know they don’t have time to watch” an entire NBA game, Silver said. “To me, it’s a logical evolution of where we’ve gone” with NBA League Pass. The ability to purchase just a few minutes of an NBA game also will be available through the NBA app and NBA.com, according to Turner.

The announcement from Turner Sports comes as ESPN gears up for the April launch of ESPN+, a sports-streaming subscription service priced at $4.99 per month that promises thousands of live games and events, including MLB, NHL, college football and basketball, tennis, rugby, and cricket.

Last summer, Turner Sports announced a multiyear deal for U.S. rights to UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League games starting with the 2018-19 season. That will comprise more than 340 games per season across linear TV networks (TNT, TBS and truTV) and the streaming service.

Turner execs noted that B/R Live will include a feed of real-time sporting events, with personalization features to match individual fans’ interests. The first event on B/R Live will be coverage of the Spring League on April 7, featuring free-agent quarterback Johnny Manziel.

B/R Live is powered by Turner’s iStreamPlanet, the streaming-infrastructure provider the company acquired in 2015.

Pictured above: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi (r.) and Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger in UEFA Champions League round of 16, March 15, 2018

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify Triples Free-Trial Period on Premium Service

    Spotify today extended the free-trial period for its Premium service from one month to three, tripling the amount of time listeners can take full advantage of the streaming giant’s offerings without paying for them. According to the announcement, the offer is “always-on/not limited time,” and will roll out across Spotify Premium plans globally: Individual and [...]

  • Moviepass

    MoviePass Confirms Security Lapse May Have Exposed Customer Credit Card Data

    MoviePass, the struggling movie ticket subscription service, confirmed that a security issue may have exposed customers’ records online, including credit card info. In a statement, MoviePass said Wednesday that the security lapse was recently discovered and its system was immediately secured. News of the data breach was first reported Tuesday by TechCrunch, which alleged that [...]

  • Tycho weather app

    This Website Creates Spotify & Apple Music Playlists Based on Your Local Weather

    Electronica musician Tycho launched a clever promotional website for his new album “Weather” this week: Visitors of Tycho’s website can use a web app to generate a playlist based on their local weather. Playlists can be saved to both Spotify and Apple Music, and consist of 25 songs, both from Tycho’s catalog as well as [...]

  • AT&T TV

    AT&T TV: An Unskinny Streaming Bundle That Looks a Lot Like Traditional Pay TV

    AT&T this week launched AT&T TV, a new subscription streaming television service that uses an Android-based internet set-top, in 10 markets. But the way it’s priced and packaged looks very similar to cable and satellite TV services — in other words, AT&T TV isn’t targeted at the cord-cutter crowd. It’s basically designed as a way [...]

  • Sofia Wylie arrives at Variety's Power

    Disney Channel Enlists Duplass Brothers for YouTube Hip-Hop Dance Series Starring Sofia Wylie

    Disney Channel’s first original scripted series made exclusively for release on YouTube is “Shook,” a hip-hop dance short-form series starring Sofia Wylie, produced by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass. “Shook” will debut Saturday, Sept. 28, on Disney Channel’s YouTube channel. The scripted single-camera show centers on 15-year-old Mia (Wylie), who yearns to dance professionally but [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Is Getting Rid of Messaging Feature

    YouTube is killing off a feature that allowed users to share videos and other messages with each other. YouTube Messages, which was first introduced in January of 2017, will be turned off by September 18, the company announced this week. “We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature [...]

  • Yara Shahidi

    Audible Teams Up With Big Names as Audio-Only Storytelling Expands

    Hobnobbing with the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Kate McKinnon and Yara Shahidi isn’t typically the gloss applied to the cerebral audiobook set, but Audible is putting the humble audio story through its own movie-makeover montage, inking high-profile development deals with entertainment names like “The Walking Dead” comics creator Skybound Entertainment, Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and Lorne [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content