ESPN’s efforts to sell streaming video subscriptions for some sports programming — without requiring viewers to pay for cable TV — could start early next year.
Sources say the Disney-owned cable giant wants to sell U.S. viewers live digital access to the Cricket World Cup, which begins in February. The tournament, held every four years, is one of the world’s biggest sporting events.
If ESPN’s plans — which aren’t finalized — move forward, it would mark the first time the company has ventured outside of the pay-TV bundle. That’s the same TV bundle — which requires subscribers to pay for dozens of channels, no matter how many of them they want to watch — that has made the company America’s most valuable programmer.
So even though cricket is a niche sport in the U.S., the move will at least have symbolic importance.
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