The Walt Disney Co. charted a path toward its digital future today, acquiring a stake in the video streaming company BAMTech. The Los Angeles Times reports that the company will pay $1 billion for a 33% stake in the operation, which was created by Major League Baseball.
“Disney has the option to acquire majority ownership in the coming years,” the Times notes. “BAMTech will be deployed to create and distribute a new ESPN-branded subscription streaming service that will be sold directly to consumers, Disney said in a statement. The service is expected to debut later this year.”
The report adds: “The offering will include live regional, national and international sporting events — but it will not include content from ESPN’s TV channels. Nonetheless, the acquisition could pave the way for an eventual offering of all ESPN content via a streaming service.”
In a statement, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said: “Our investment in BAMTech gives us the technology infrastructure we need to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our company.”