ESPN

The race to become the "Netflix of sports"

Collage illustration of a television in a stream of water near a historical image of people watching an early 3D film.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Former ESPN boss John Skipper made waves last year when he joined relatively unknown sports streaming network DAZN (pronounced "Da Zone").

Why it matters: Skipper is hoping to build a subscription service akin to the "Netflix of sports" by wooing leagues that already have a line of digital and TV companies waiting anxiously for existing contracts to expire.

The appeal of regional sports networks

The top 10 most expensive cable affiliate fees in the U.S. last year were all sports channels — mostly regional sports networks (RSNs) — with ESPN being by far the most expensive, per SNL Kagan data provided to Axios.

Adapted from Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence; Chart: Axios Visuals

The big picture: They're expensive because the bulk of their content comes from licensing sports rights, which as noted above, are getting more expensive.

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