In a move that further blurs the lines between streaming and cable TV, Max – the streaming service formerly known as HBO Max – will offer subscribers free access to major live sporting events through February 2024. Let’s dive in to find details about it.
Streaming Closes In On Cable With Free Live Sports Offering
The ad-supported and ad-free tiers of Max will both include the new sports add-on package in partnership with Bleacher Report. Starting October 5th, subscribers can watch live games and events from the MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA March Madness, and more at no extra cost until the end of February 2024. After that point, Max will charge $10 per month for the sports add-on.
Coverage will include pre- and post-game commentary along with the live games. Warner Bros. Discovery will continue airing the events across its cable channels like TNT, TBS and TruTV as well. But the streaming access represents a major step in live sports migrating from cable to streaming platforms.
Major leagues and events included are 60 NHL regular season games, NBA Opening Night and 64 additional matchups, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and NCAA March Madness after the free period expires.
The move comes as streaming looks to take aim at one of cable’s biggest differentiators – live sports. While streaming outlets like Apple TV and Peacock have begun dipping into live sports, cable has largely dominated exclusive access to premium leagues and games.
But with Max’s sports add-on, streaming takes a big leap forward in live sports offerings. For sports fans debating cutting the cord, it provides a cable-like option for catching their favorite teams and leagues.
The announcement also follows a recent standoff between Disney and Charter Communications over putting Disney’s streaming services on Charter’s cable platform. That highlighted the tensions between media companies moving content to streaming while cable operators want to package streaming services in their offerings.
As the media world pivots toward streaming, deals like Max’s sports add-on signal the streaming vs. cable divide will only continue evaporating. For sports fans used to relying on cable for live action, the Max offering provides a viable streaming alternative in 2023 and 2024.