ESPN considers kicking off OTT with Major League Soccer
Michelle Clancy
| 28 May 2014
ESPN may use its recently acquired digital rights for Major League Soccer to anchor an over-the-top (OTT) strategy for the first time in its history.

The network recently signed an eight-year carriage deal with the MLS for the broadcast rights to national games, the ability to sell a premium package of 200 out-of-market games via pay-TV providers, and full digital rights to the games.

"You saw us buy MLS digital rights," ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks John Skipper said at a recent event. "It was a clue, but we still don't know what we will do with that. That's a direct-to-consumer package we bought. We could do it just like it's done now through multichannel distributors or we can do something different with it to go direct to consumer."

According to a Reuters' source, it could include a consumer-facing special section within the ESPN3 online video app.

"We've just got to think about other business models," Skipper said. "We're not far along on any them, but we do think about how we might capture more money direct from consumers."