MAX adding live Sports Tier; $10 monthly service will be
included at no charge for existing subscribers through next
By Dade Hayes
September 19, 2023 11:00am
A 2023 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament game. Warner Bros
Discovery networks' coverage of the tournament, along with
NBA, Major League Baseball and other sports telecast, will
be added next month to Max as a premium tier.
Making good on years of promises by the corporate overseers
of Turner Sports, Warner Bros. Discovery is adding a live
sports tier to Max.
The streaming add-on, which will carry the Bleacher Report
brand now that the Turner name has faded away, will launch
October 5 at $10 a month. No charge will be assessed to
existing Max subscribers until next February 29. Unlike the
long-defunct streaming service B/R Live, which was a stand-
alone, the new offering will only be available as part of a
The venture widens the aperture for WBD’s coverage of the
NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and the NCAA Men’s
Basketball Tournament, a joint venture with Paramount. Also
in store for the new tier are celebrity golf production The
Match, U.S. Soccer matches and select live international
sports events such as 24 Hours of Le Mans, cycling races and
Studio shows like the well-regarded Inside the NBA will also
be part of the add-on tier, as will Bleacher Report’s live
video offerings, including its coverage of the NFL Draft and
popular vodcasts featuring active players like Mookie Betts,
Von Miller, Micah Parsons and Travis Hunter.
All live games airing on a Warner Bros. Discovery linear
network (among them TNT, TBS and truTV) will be available on
Max through the new tier, the company said. That could help
insulate the company from charges of “leaking” that have
amped up tensions between pay-TV operators and programmers.
As evidenced by the recent battle between Charter and
Disney, distributors have objected to being asked to pay
higher carriage fees even as companies look for ways to leak
valuable sports programming outside the pay-TV bundle and
onto direct-to-consumer services.
Last May, as Max was getting set to launch as a rebranded
blend of HBO Max and Discovery+ programming, WBD execs said
they planned to add news and sports to it. Those vows rang
familiar to anyone who has followed the long-winding saga of
the home of HBO and Turner. Back when its parent was
WarnerMedia and its corporate owner was AT&T, execs touted
the important role that news and sports would play in their
streaming mission. But for most of its existence HBO Max had
remained a largely on-demand entertainment experience, while
B/R Live and CNN+ came and went as stand-alones. Now, with
the hub CNN Max set to launch on September 27 and the sports
add-on a week later, the long-discussed vision for a more
well-rounded streaming outlet is starting to take shape.
As of the most recent quarter, WBD reported having 95.8
million global streaming subscribers, most of those on Max.
The new sports tier is rolling out as Warner Bros. Discovery
is getting set to hold talks with the NBA about a multi-
billion rights extension. The league’s current deals with
Disney/ESPN and WBD will expire at the end of the 2024-25