Warner Bros. Discovery is embarking on a notable rebrand to one of its core divisions.
The company is rebranding its WBD Sports division as TNT Sports, embracing the name of one of its biggest cable channels (and its home for the NBA), and unifying its global sports brands under one name (the company has already rebranded its U.K. and Latin America sports channels as TNT Sports).
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The newly named TNT Sports has some of the biggest sports rights outside of ESPN, including the NBA, NHL and MLB, as well as the March Madness college basketball tournament. Already, the live games and studio shows use the channels they run on (e.g., NBA on TNT, NHL on TNT, MLB on TBS), so the rebranding is more of a business-to-business move, encompassing the full umbrella of sports brands.
Bleacher Report, Golf Digest and the owned-and-operated businesses will all function as part of the TNT Sports family.
The new brand also comes at a critical moment for the company, with NBA rights renewals imminent and Max embarking on a sports streaming push.
TNT and ESPN have an exclusive negotiating window for NBA rights early this year, and the company would like to keep rights (it already has what is widely regarded as the best NBA studio show, Inside the NBA). However, with the league seeking a major step-up in payments, there is no assurance of a deal.
WBD’s Max streaming service also launched a sports tier last year (called B/R Sports, after Bleacher Report), and will make it a premium subscription add-on in a few months.
WBD’s streaming chief, JB Perrette, noted to THR that the company’s sports rights are sold as a premium add-on in other markets, and thinks that the U.S. is moving in a similar direction.
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