Disney Is Paying Out An Enormous Sum To A Professional Sports League

Disney is paying out a significant sum of money to a professional sports league after a deal they struck last year had reached the end

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

The Walt Disney Company has disclosed that it’s buying the National Hockey League’s 10% stake in Disney Streaming Services for $350 million in a deal that is expected to close before the end of the 2021 fiscal year. The Disney subsidiary that manages the technology platforms that power the company’s streaming services (like Disney+ and ESPN+) was previously known as BAMTech.

Major League Baseball created the operation as a spinoff of MLB Advanced Media, with the National Hockey League as a minority investor in 2015. Disney acquired a minority stake in 2016, which it increased to 75% in 2017. The operation subsequently rebranded itself as Disney Streaming Services.

The NHL had an option to trigger the buyout this year, and according to Disney’s quarterly report (via The Hollywood Reporter), the league exercised this option on August 3rd. Once the deal is complete, Disney will own 85 percent of BAMTech/Disney Streaming Services, with Major League Baseball holding the remaining 15 percent. A spokesperson declined to comment beyond what was made available in the 10-Q filing.

Additionally, Major League Baseball has the right to sell its remaining interest in the company, and Disney has the right to buy it, beginning in 2022. According to Disney, the floor market value for MLB’s BAMTech stake is $752 million.

Disney struck a seven-year rights deal with the NHL earlier this year. That deal includes a package of 75 annual, regular-season games on Disney’s ESPN, ESPN+, and Hulu streaming services. As such, the streamers get to broadcast exclusive games, with some Stanley Cup playoffs set to air on ABC beginning with the 2021-2022 season.

Meanwhile, Disney+ continues to dominate the streaming realm with a slew of successful Marvel series. WandaVision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, and the animated series What If…? have been a hit with fans. Other shows currently in development include Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye.

disney marvel

Disney’s Ms. Marvel will follow Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey with shape-shifting abilities who later discovers that she has Inhuman genes. She later assumes the mantle of Ms. Marvel, after her idol, Carol Danvers becomes Captain Marvel. Created by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona, and Jamie McKelvie, Kamala Khan is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book. The character first appeared in 2013’s Captain Marvel #14 before going on to star in the solo series Ms. Marvel, which debuted in February 2014.

The Disney series Hawkeye will be directed by Amber Finlayson, Katie Ellwood, and Rhys Thomas, from a script by Jonathan Igla. Marvel Studios is producing the project. The series shares continuity with the films of the franchise and takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Jeremy Renner is reprising his film role as Clint Barton/Hawkeye alongside Hailee Steinfeld as Kate Bishop – the skilled archer who made her comic book debut in 2005. The series is said to further explore Clint’s time as Ronin, while he trains Kate to take over the mantle of Hawkeye.

Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye are expected to be released on Disney+ in late 2021, as part of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.