Roku is surging after inking a deal with ESPN


Shares of Roku jumped more than 8% in early trading Tuesday after the streaming-device maker announced a deal with ESPN to stream its new direct-to-consumer channel on the platform.

ESPN+, which was announced earlier this year, is designed to complement rather than compete with ESPN’s traditional cable services, and therefore will only carry certain National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, and other select games that are not already licensed for the cable channel.

“Roku customers have enjoyed the ESPN channel for years, Scott Rosenberg, general manager of Roku’s platform business said in a press release. “The launch of ESPN+ marks an exciting moment for the OTT sports experience, giving consumers more sports content from their favourite pastimes than ever. Roku customers that subscribe to ESPN+ will enjoy access to more live sports events, original shows and films, exclusive studio programs and ESPN’s unmatched on-demand library.”

Disney, which has owned ESPN since 1996, has been seeking to move to its own proprietary streaming products for a while. The company announced last year it would pull its movies from Netflix as it prepares its own direct-to-consumer streaming lineup.

ESPN+ stems from the company’s acquisition of BAMTech from Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media division for $US1 billion in 2016. The service will cost $US4.99 per month, or $US49.99 per year, the company said.

Shares of Roku have declined by 33% since the beginning of 2018.

Disney, which was up less than 1% after the agreement was announced, is down 12% this year.

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