Disney+ will start showing some live sports from ESPN this year

Disney's flagship streaming service just became profitable for the first time.

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Some live sports and studio shows from ESPN will start appearing on Disney+ this year. Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors on an earnings call that this follows an encouraging start for Hulu programming on the company's namesake streaming service.

"By the end of this calendar year, we will be adding an ESPN tile to Disney+, giving all US subscribers access to select live games and studio programming within the Disney+ app," Iger said. "We see this as a first step to bringing ESPN to Disney+ viewers, as we ready the launch of our enhanced standalone ESPN streaming service in the fall of 2025." Iger also noted that ESPN+ subscribers will also be able to access content from that service through the new Disney+ tile, so Disney bundle subscribers will more or less have everything in one app.

Iger didn't reveal exactly what sports Disney would make available to everyone on Disney+, but made it clear that it would only bring a “modest” amount of programming over from ESPN. The company is also working with Fox Sports and Warner Bros. Discovery on another sports streaming service that's slated to arrive later this year and will include games from the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA.

Meanwhile, Disney+ just had its first profitable quarter in its four and a half years of existence. The service had been expected to lose $100 million in the first three months of 2024, but it actually posted a $47 million profit — surely aided by Taylor Swift's Eras Tour concert film debuting on the platform in March.

However, Disney's streaming business as a whole (which also includes Hulu and ESPN+) lost $18 million during the quarter. That's still a vast improvement over the $659 million that side of the business lost a year earlier as Disney edges toward overall profitability in streaming.