Disney Vet Jessica Casano-Antonellis To Head Communications For ESPN-Fox-WBD Sports Streaming Venture

Jessica Casano-Antonellis, a former exec at Disney+, Hulu and Vimeo, is returning to the streaming sector as the head of communications for the new sports-centric service coming from ESPN, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery.

As SVP of Communications, Casano-Antonellis will head up all communications efforts for the joint venture, which does not yet have a name. News of the service, which is slated to launch this fall, first emerged in February.

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As a member of the JV’s executive leadership team, Casano-Antonellis will report directly to CEO Pete Distad.

Casano-Antonellis begins her new position after a two-year stint heading communications for SiriusXM. Prior to that, she was VP of Communications for Disney+ and Hulu and worked for video sharing site Vimeo as it was breaking away from Barry Diller’s IAC.

“Jessica’s extensive experience in the direct-to-consumer streaming space makes her the perfect fit for this role,” Distad said in a press release. “Her track record of navigating complex global launches and leading transformational narratives for notable brands positions her as a trusted advisor as we embark on this exciting journey.”

“It’s a privilege to join Pete at this stage in the joint venture’s development and to be part of building something destined to delight sports fans,” Casano-Antonellis said. “It’s rare to get the opportunity to come in at the ground floor, and I can’t wait to get to work bringing the new streaming service to market this fall.”

One dimension of the new communications role will involve positioning the sports venture as it faces charges that it is anticompetitive. Sports-focused pay-TV operator Fubo, which has a pending lawsuit against the JV participants, earlier Thursday joined with Dish Networks, DirecTV and five other signers to send a letter to Congress urging hearings on competition in the pay-TV sector. Last month, two House Democrats, New York’s Jerry Nadler and Texas’ Joaquin Castro sent a letter to the CEOs of Disney, Fox and WBD urging them to answer a list of questions, many of them about what they consider to be antitrust issues with the planned service.

Nicknamed “Spulu,” the new outlet will offer subscribers access to the live feeds of 14 linear networks, all of which have a considerable amount of sports programming. Monthly pricing has not yet been announced, but most industry observers and Wall Street analysts predict it will fall in the $40 to $50 range. NBCUniversal and Paramount, notably, are not part of the JV.

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