×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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

More Digital

  • Reddit

    Reddit Rolls Out Collections and Events Posts to All Communities (EXCLUSIVE)

    After testing them with “Game of Thrones” fans and a few dozen other Subreddits for the past couple of months, Reddit is now launching two new post types to its entire user base: Events will help communities with discussions about TV show episodes, awards shows, breaking news and more; Collections will help to curate posts, [...]

  • silicon valleywood Wanda Sykes

    Silicon Valleywood Confab Will Mine Maximum Data Strategies

    As Apple’s recent star-studded event for its new TV streaming service demonstrated, the worlds of entertainment and technology are becoming increasingly intertwined — a convergence Variety will explore during its inaugural Silicon Valleywood Summit on April 23 in Menlo Park. Entertainment leaders will join tech giants on the latter industry’s home turf to discuss how [...]

  • Woman lying on a sofa holding

    The Streaming Wars' Other Battlefront: User Experience as Important as Content, Survey Finds

    Content is king — but the queen for direct-to-consumer streaming services is overall user experience, according to a new study. It’s well understood that the price/value ratio for subscription VOD hinges on access to content, including exclusive originals and popular library titles. But just as important is an SVOD offering’s ease-of-use and other consumer-friendly features, [...]

  • Mission Impossible 2

    APOS: Paramount+ Streaming Service to Expand to Brazil, Latin America

    The Paramount+ subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service is to begin operations in Latin America and Brazil from next month. The moves are made possible by deals with Claro Video and with Brazil’s NET. The South America expansion in in addition to the platform’s existing presence in the Nordic region and Central and Eastern Europe. The deal [...]

  • A Man Walks Into the Cnn

    CNN Launches Channel on Pluto TV Free Streaming Service

    CNN programming is coming to Pluto TV, Viacom’s free streaming TV service, on a dedicated channel launching for users in the U.S. Tuesday. To be clear, however, it’s not CNN’s live broadcast feed — that’s available only to pay-TV customers on traditional cable or satellite services, and via authenticated access on the web and mobile [...]

  • YouTube TV

    Verizon Will Resell YouTube TV to Wireless, Broadband Customers Across U.S.

    Verizon has turned to Google for over-the-top TV: The telco will market and resell YouTube TV to wireless and Fios broadband customers nationwide — leading with 5G early adopters — under a pact with the internet giant. The companies didn’t announce YouTube TV pricing, availability or other details; a Verizon rep said only that the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content