CBS to Launch Streaming Over-the-Top Sports Net

Mayweather-McGregor fight to go direct to consumer

CBS plans to launch a new streaming sports channel later this year, CEO Les Moonves said Monday (Aug. 7) on the company's second-quarter earnings call.

Moonves said the new, as-yet unnamed channel is being modeled on CBSN, the company’s streaming news service, which is now becoming available as a channel on skinny programming bundles being offered by virtual MVPDs.

Moonves said CBS already has an online sports group in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and will be able to use the infrasture in place for CBSN to keep costs down and create a path to profit in a relatively short period of time.

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He added that CBS is a big player in sports and that the channel will look to differentiate itself from ESPN and Fox Sports.

Moonves also said Showtime’s coverage of the Aug. 26 fight between boxing champ Floyd Mayweather and MMA star Conor McGregor will be available direct to consumers via over-the-top streaming. Consumers who buy the fight will also get a free trial subscription to Showtime’s streaming service, boosting sampling for that product.

Related: Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza: Mayweather-McGregor Could Set PPV Records

CBS said it expects its over-the-top streaming services, Showtime and CBS All Access, to have a combined 4 million subscribers by the end of the year.

The company also said that CBS would be taking CBS All Access into international markets starting with Canada in 2018. CBS has noticed the fast growth of other streaming services in international markets, Moonves said, and will look to cash in on the popularity of CBS’s programming worldwide.