By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) plans to add a live sports plan to the Max streaming service by the 2023 MLB playoffs in October, according to a new CNBC report. The story, written by CNBC’s Alex Sherman, says Max plans to offer live games from MLB (including the playoffs in October), NBA, NHL and college including basketball’s March Madness. (WBD owns TBS and TNT, which have the broadcast rights to select MLB, NHL and NBA games and March Madness games.) The MLB playoff games will be simulcast on Max and WBD’s TBS.

Sherman says the new sports tier, which will come under the brand name, Bleacher Report, the sports site also owned by WBD, is likely to require a fee although the company has yet to determine what the fee will be. WBD executives last week said in a company earnings call that they were planning to add live sports to Max and Jean-Briac Perrette, WBD’s CEO and president of global streaming and games, suggested that subscribers would have to pay a separate fee for the sports programming. He noted that is what WBD is already doing in other countries.

“In sports, we have a mix of models today across. Largely in Europe, it is priced in an incrementally priced tier,” said Perrette. “In (Latin America), we have some sports bundle, a mix there as well. We have some local football or soccer in a separately priced tier. We have Champions League in Mexico and Brazil, priced within the entertainment offering. I think generally, our view is sports is such a premium offering with a very focused and passionate fan base. But generally, the model will require some way to find…incremental value to get out of it. And so exactly how that comes to market, we will have more to say later in the year. But generally, our view is that it needs to be monetized incrementally, let’s put it that way.”

Max now offers plans ranging from $9.99 a month with ads-included to $19.99 a month with no ads and 4K programming included.

Sherman writes that WBD is in discussions with the NBA about simulcasting TNT’s broadcasts of league games on Max. He adds that any exclusive NBA games on Max would not happen until the 2024-25 season at the earliest.

The CNBC attributes the report to “people familiar with the matter.” Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment for the report.

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— Phillip Swann