ESPN is loading up its new streaming weapon, ESPN Plus, which it hopes will be the answer to a turbulent time caused by an increase in cord cutting.
The Disney-owned company has ordered an untitled documentary series that will follow select members of the NBA’s 2017-18 rookie class as they begin their professional-basketball careers. The eight-episode docu-series, which will be exclusive to the streaming service, is produced for ESPN by Winik Media and 441 productions.
Though this is first series exclusive to ESPN Plus to get an official greenlight publicly from the sports-media company, there are several more in the works, including “Detail,” which will star former LA Laker Kobe Bryant.
ESPN has kept details on the majority of its upcoming OTT programing under wraps, however, the company did confirm that the service will be the exclusive streaming home for the films in its award-winning “30 for 30” documentary series. Additionally, the company inked a rights deal with the Sun Belt conference earlier this month that will make hundreds of college sporting events available exclusively on the service.
With more consumers looking online for their entertainment, ESPN sees the upcoming OTT platform as way to regain dominance in the industry, especially among younger sports fans who are more accustomed to online viewing. Additionally, as part of its strategy to attract younger viewers, the sports network has placed greater effort into social video. In November of last year, the company launched a Snapchat version of its popular series “Sports Center” and, at the start of this year, it partnered with Facebook’s Watch to launch a new show on the service.
ESPN Plus is expected to launch this spring with a subscription price of $4.99 per month.