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Turner to launch sports streaming service in 2018
[NEW YORK] Turner Broadcasting System plans to launch a standalone sports streaming service for consumers in 2018, the Time Warner Inc unit said on Thursday.
The service will offer access to UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League matches as part of a three-year multi-platform rights agreement with the governing body of European football beginning with the 2018-2019 season. Turner will add other content to the service as it becomes available, executives said. Pricing has yet to be determined.
The announcement marks the latest in a wave of streaming services that media companies have launched to accommodate the growing number of younger viewers who are cancelling cable subscriptions in favor of watching content online, a practice known as cord-cutting.
Walt Disney Co said last week it would launch a sports-themed ESPN streaming service next year followed by a similar offering with Disney and Pixar movies and television shows in 2019, when the world's biggest entertainment company plans to stop providing new movies to Netflix Inc.
CBS Corp also said it would launch an online sports service, which has yet to be named.
Turner's sports service would mark its third online streaming product in the last 15 months. It also offers FilmStruck, a streaming service for film buffs, and one for cartoon fans called Boomerang.
In an interview, Turner President David Levy said that in addition to premium content, the sports service could also potentially include niche sports that do not currently have a way to reach avid fans.
Turner also said as part of its agreement with UEFA that live matches would be regularly televised across TBS, TNT and truTV and that additional content would be available on its sports site Bleacher Report.