Max — formerly known as HBO Max — was created to combine all of Warner Bros. Discovery under one streaming service. And now in an expected move, it’s adding Warner Bros. Discovery’s live sports networks to the mix.
Starting on October 5, Max is adding a new Bleacher Report Sports add-on to the Max platform, making it a free addition for a limited time. Max is offering the add-on free to all Max subscribers from its launch on October 5 until February 29, 2024. At that point, you’ll need to pay $9.99 a month for Bleacher Report Sports.
Your ticket to live sports is now on us for a limited time. Starting October 5, catch all the biggest sports moments from @MLB, @NHL_on_TNT, @NBAonTNT, and more streaming live on Max with the @BleacherReport Sports Add-On. Learn more: https://t.co/yxv6sqLgOz pic.twitter.com/XNvUFECbgpSeptember 19, 2023
That $9.99 gets you a lot of live sports streaming. Max promises more than 300 live games each year, though some may be subject to local blackout restrictions. During the free trial period, you’ll get the MLB National League Division Series and Championship Series playoffs, NHL regular season games and NBA regular season games along with some U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Soccer Team matches. This includes NBA Opening Night, NHL Opening Week games, the NBA In-Season Tournament and the NHL Winter Classic.
Once the free trial period is over though, you may find additional reasons to stay subscribed. The Bleacher Report Sports add-on will also give you access to numerous March Madness games, including the Final Four and Championship. You’ll also get NHL and NBA playoffs coverage and the 2024 MLB season once baseball starts up in the spring.
Analysis: Bleacher Report Sports on Max is for cord-cutters
Here’s the issue with the Bleacher Report Sports add-on though — you might not need it. From what I see listed in Max’s announcement, Max is largely offering existing Turner Sports coverage from TNT, TBS and TruTV. It's using the Bleacher Report brand rather than Turner for some reason, but then again, this is the company that dropped the HBO from HBO Max, so maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.
In terms of the live sports in particular though, I can’t find anything of note that you won’t be able to watch on one of those networks. NBA and NHL games are on TNT, MLB on TBS and March Madness on both plus TruTV. This means that if you have cable or a cable TV alternative, there won’t be a reason to pay $9.99 despite additional content in the form of highlights and other video-on-demand content. Especially since Max isn’t even removing adds from its sports live streams for your nearly $10 a month.
It’s a bit surprising that Warner Bros. Discovery isn’t paywalling anything of note. Live sports is definitely the next big thing in streaming, and many of Max’s competitors already have their own offerings. But they also all put games behind a paywall. Peacock does it with the Premier League, Paramount Plus does it with the Champions League and ESPN Plus does it with games from numerous leagues in a wide variety of sports. That’s how they incentivize you to sign up. With Bleacher Report Sports, I’m not seeing any incentive to pay $9.99 unless I’ve completely cut the cord.