PBR Inks Pluto TV Deal Converting RidePass Into Free Streaming Channel (EXCLUSIVE)

·3-min read

A whole bunch of bull is coming exclusively to ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV.

Pluto TV will become the exclusive home of Professional Bull Riders’s RidePass, with PBR changing RidePass from a subscription-video service to an ad-supported digital network. The unusual deal also will make RidePass the first dedicated live sports channel on Pluto TV.

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Beginning July 20, PBR RidePass will be available for free on Pluto TV as a linear channel as well as collection of on-demand content. Annually, it features hundreds of hours of live bull riding, rodeo and other western sporting events. Under the pact, Pluto TV will market its streaming service to PBR fans, becoming one of the sport’s largest partners.

RidePass — which PBR has touted as “the Netflix of Western sports” — debuted in February 2018, originally priced at $7.99/month before going up to $9.99/month. PBR appears to have concluded that it could better monetize RidePass content through a free, ad-based model on Pluto TV, which currently boasts more than 50 million users worldwide.

PBR’s first marquee rodeo to be carried live on Pluto TV is “Days of 47 Cowboy Games and Rodeo,” to be held July 20-24 from Utah Fair State Park. All five rounds of competition will be free on Pluto TV.

In addition to the new Pluto TV pact, PBR, a subsidiary of Endeavor’s IMG, also has a TV rights deal with CBS Sports that extends through 2028.

The deal to bring PBR RidePass exclusively to Pluto TV’s free streaming platform is similar to NBCUniversal’s pact making the subscription-based WWE Network available in the U.S. only on Peacock (although that is available only to paying Peacock customers).

“This new relationship with Pluto TV allows PBR to super-serve fans with hundreds of events and thousands of hours of great western sports programming now available for free,” Sean Gleason, PBR commissioner and CEO, said in a statement. “With PBR’s linear and streaming live event content all within the ViacomCBS family through CBS and Pluto TV, we will benefit from tremendous synergies to grow this first-of-its-kind sports network.”

PBR RidePass on Pluto TV is the latest expansion of the FAST (free, ad-supported streaming television) service’s footprint in live sports and event programming, and will join Pluto TV’s lineup of western-themed programming including the Western TV channel, which streams series like “The Lone Ranger” and “Walker Texas Ranger,” as well as the dedicated Pluto TV Westerns movie channel, featuring classic films like “True Grit,” “Geronimo: An American Legend” and “The Alamo.” Earlier this month, Pluto TV launched an exclusive dedicated channel for Steve McQueen’s “Wanted: Dead or Alive.”

“We are the perfect destination to entertain PBR’s vast and loyal fanbase and are proud to be able to deliver this best-in-sport streaming content, for free, for the very first time,” said Tom Ryan, CEO and president of ViacomCBS Streaming. “We welcome the challenge to partner and build upon the successful foundation PBR established with RidePass by adding our own expertise in live, ad-supported streaming.”

PBR holds more than 200 events annually across the televised Unleash the Beast Tour (UTB), which features the top 35 bull riders in the world; the Pendleton Whisky Velocity Tour (PWVT); the Touring Pro Division (TPD); and the PBR’s international circuits in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. RidePass programming includes coverage of marquee rodeos such as the WCRA Triple Crown, Indian National Finals Rodeo, Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo and National High School Rodeo Finals.

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