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The Biggest Streaming Sports Storylines to Watch in 2019

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains breaks down the importance of recent announcements from Roku (ROKU - Free Report) , Hulu and more. The episode then dives into some of the key storylines for the streaming sports world in 2019 and beyond, including what’s next for Fox (FOXA - Free Report) and Disney (DIS - Free Report) .  

Roku stock soared last week after the streaming TV firm announced that its active accounts surged. Plus, the company’s total streaming hours skyrocketed. The Los Gatos, California-based company is not currently a streaming sports power, but its growing share of the streaming devices market compared to the likes of Apple TV (AAPL - Free Report) , Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) Fire TV, and Google’s (GOOGL - Free Report) Chromecast, could help it become attractive and gain leverage in possible streaming sports deals as it expands its business.

Meanwhile, Hulu recently said that it added 8 million subscribers in 2018 to close the year with more than 25 million total subscribers across its on-demand and live TV plans in the U.S., which marked a nearly 50% expansion. Hulu’s live streaming growth helps show just how important access to live sports is for many looking to cut the cord. Going forward, it will be interesting to see how Disney, which is set to become the streaming firm’s majority owner, utilizes Hulu.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has said that Hulu is one of the company's “biggest priorities in fiscal 2019” even as the entertainment conglomerate readies itself for the release of its Disney+ streaming services that hopes to challenge Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , Amazon Prime and soon enough Apple (AAPL - Free Report) and AT&T (T - Free Report) . On top of that, ESPN+ and its focus on live sports are likely to remain vital for decades to come.

The episode then dives into one of the most famous professional sports team’s push to start its own stand-alone sports network, which could end up being a major success in an ever more decentralized streaming TV market. We should also watch how the growth of legalized sports betting impacts sports media rights as giants like MGM (MGM - Free Report) , Caesars Entertainment (CZR - Free Report) , and others dive into sports betting.

Investors should also keep their eyes on sports-focused streaming companies like DAZN, which has grabbed some impressive sports rights in Canada and hopes to expand beyond boxing in the U.S. Plus, Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) , Facebook (FB - Free Report) , YouTube (GOOGL - Free Report) , Amazon, and other tech firms continue to expand their live sports rights as advertisers fight to find consumers anywhere they can.

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at podcast@zacks.com. Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at zacks.com/podcasts, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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