Sling TV reveals plans for sports package including Universal Sports

Sling TV, the internet-based TV service operated by Dish, just gave us a look at its plans for sports fans: Sling TV’s new website, which launched Friday, reveals the line-up of channels that will be available as part of a Sports Extra add-on package.

Sports fans who pay a little extra on top of their $20 base subscription for Sling TV will have access to the SEC Network, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Goal Line, ESPN Bases Loaded, Univision Deportes, Universal Sports and beIN Sports, according to the site.

It was widely expected that the sports package would include a number of additional ESPN channels. Sling’s base package only gives users access to ESPN1 and ESNP2, and executives had long said that they were going to include more ESPN fare with an add-on package. The SEC Network is also owned by Disney and part of the ESPN family, and Univision Desportes isn’t a big surprise either — Sling announced a deal with Univision earlier this week, and also has plans to build a package that specifically targets Spanish speakers.

beIN Sports is a new addition, and so is Universal Sports, which is in part owned by NBC Universal. Universal Sports struck a multi-platform deal with Dish in 2012, but it’s unclear whether Sling TV was already part of that deal, or whether both parties have now reached a separate agreement. A Sling TV spokesperson contacted for this story confirmed the lineup for the sports package, but declined to comment further.

NBC Universal has long been seen as one of the easier gets for new online TV services like Sling TV, because the network is subject to merger conditions put in place when Comcast acquired NBC in 2011. Part of these conditions was a requirement to offer online rights under the same conditions as any of its competitors. However, a NBC Universal spokesperson told me that the broadcaster doesn’t currently have a deal with Sling TV, and that Universal Sports is part of a separately run corporate entity.

The sports package is still listed as “coming soon.” It will cost $5 a month, which is what Sling is charging subscribers for access to its news as well as kids’ add-on packages. Sling TV is still in an invitation-only beta phase, but is expected to open up to the public within the next few weeks.

Take a closer look at Sling TV in the video below:


Correction: This post was updated at 1:42pm. A previous version stated that the addition of Universal Sports could signal a wider deal with NBC Universal, but a spokesperson of the broadcaster has since insisted that this isn’t the case.