America is addicted to sports. It’s the reason that ESPN is the most expensive cable channel by a mile, costing more than the next five most expensive channels combined. The scarcity of sports on web-based media sources has been one of the major factors keeping millions paying triple digit cable bills and subscribing to literally hundreds of unwanted channels. When Sling TV was announced, and ESPN was among the dozen channels offered by the service, many predicted success despite writing the service off as little more than a $20 subscription to ESPN. Now sports fans have another reason to be fans of Sling TV as well. Dish Network has announced an add-on package that will bring 9 additional sports channels to the service.
Subscribers to the sports add-on will be able to enjoy ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, the SEC Network, Univision Deportes, Univesal Sports, and BeIN Sports. It comes as no surprise that the package is loaded with additional Disney-owned ESPN properties, and following a recent deal with Univision, the appearance of Univision Deportes makes sense as well. Disney’s ESPN has long resisted offering OTT services of their own to non-cable subscribers, for fear of upsetting the apple cart that is their current highly lucrative relationship with cable providers. But now that so much ESPN content is becoming available to cord-cutters via the Sling TV service, that strategy is being put in question.