ESPN+

ESPN+ (pronounced ESPN Plus) is an over-the-top video streaming subscription service available in the United States, owned by Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, in partnership with ESPN Inc., which is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company (which owns a controlling 80% stake) and the Hearst Communications (which owns the remaining 20%).

ESPN+ is marketed as an add-on subscription on top of ESPN's core linear networks, with content similar to or having been exclusively moved to the service from ESPN3 (thus having been paywalled in comparison to WatchESPN, which offered the content at no additional charge to ESPN subscribers), such as combat sports (including coverage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Top Rank boxing), college sports, cricket, rugby union, soccer (including out-of-market Major League Soccer matches), golf (including coverage of the PGA Championship and The Masters) and tennis.[4] The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball's out-of-market sports packages (which are both, as with ESPN+, operated using technology of Disney subsidiary BAMTech) are sold through the platform as add-ons. The service also features archive content and ESPN original documentaries, and access to premium content on ESPN.com. As of March 2019, ESPN+ is the exclusive outlet for UFC pay-per-view events, sold for an additional fee.

As of February 7, 2019, the service has over 2 million paying subscribers.[3]

ESPN+
ESPN+'s logo
FoundedApril 12, 2018
Headquarters
Area servedUnited States
OwnerWalt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, in partnership with ESPN Inc.
(The Walt Disney Company (80%)
Hearst Communications (20%))
[1]
Key peopleRussell Wolff (executive vice-president and general manager)[2]
Websiteplus.espn.com
Users2 million+ as of February 2019[3]
LaunchedApril 12, 2018
Current statusActive

History

In August 2016, The Walt Disney Company acquired a minority stake in BAMTech, a spin-out of MLB Advanced Media's streaming technology business, for $1 billion, with an option to acquire a majority stake in the future. It was also announced that Disney subsidiary ESPN was planning to develop an over-the-top service based on BAMTech technology as "an exploratory OTT project", drawing primarily from ESPN-owned rights for events not broadcast on television. ESPN already used BAMTech's platform for its TV Everywhere service WatchESPN. Disney CEO Bob Iger remarked that despite declines in the pay television industry due to cord cutting, "live sports has really thrived, even in a world where there's so much more for people to do and to watch."[5][6]

In August 2017, Disney invoked its option to acquire a controlling stake in BAMTech, and announced that it planned to launch its ESPN OTT service in 2018, followed by a Disney entertainment OTT service in 2019 (thus ending its relationship with Netflix). At this time, Disney stated that the new ESPN service would draw from ESPN-owned sports rights, as well as MLB, NHL, and Major League Soccer content (although lacking major ESPN-owned rights such as the NBA and NFL), and that an accompanying redesign of the ESPN app would make it a "premier digital destination" for sports content.[7] During Disney's fourth-quarter earnings call, Iger revealed that the service would be known as ESPN+.[8] In December 2017, Disney announced its intent to acquire 21st Century Fox after the spin-off of certain businesses. The deal was to include the Fox Sports Networks group of regional sports networks (however Disney was ordered to divest them under antitrust grounds),[9] which led to suggestions that Disney wanted the networks to order to incorporate their respective local sports rights into the service.[10]

In February 2018, Iger stated that ESPN was aiming for a monthly price of $4.99.[11][12] ESPN+ and BAMTech were placed into the newly formed Disney business segment, Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International, on March 14, 2018.[13] On April 2, 2018, ESPN announced that ESPN+ would officially launch on April 12, 2018, and confirmed its $4.99 per-month pricing.[4]

On August 21, 2018, ESPN announced that it had merged its existing ESPN Insider subscription service into ESPN+, adding access to premium ESPN.com content (such as exclusive beat reports, and advanced sports statistics and analytics tools) to the service. Both services shared the same monthly price, but ESPN Insider's existing annual subscribers were grandfathered under previous its previous $39.99 per-year price (as opposed to $49.99 for ESPN+), and all former ESPN Insider subscribers will continue to receive the complimentary subscription to ESPN The Magazine that was part of the subscription until it ends print distribution with the September 2019 issue.[14]

On October 31, 2018, ESPN International executive vice-president and managing director Russell Wolff was named executive vice-president and general manager of ESPN+ reporting to Disney Streaming Services/BAMTech President.[2]

Programming

The service focuses primarily on overflow content similar to that of ESPN's existing digital service ESPN3 (which is distributed to subscribers of participating internet and television subscribers), though some of ESPN3's content has been shifted exclusively to ESPN+, such as most Canadian Football League coverage.[15][16] Its launch content includes boxing (including Top Rank events and archive content through 2025),[17] college sports events (including Ivy League events, with the conference having reached a 10-year media rights deal with ESPN prior to the service's launch),[18] coverage of Tennis Grand Slams, as well as international cricket (Cricket Ireland and New Zealand Cricket), soccer (including Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League, the U.S. Open Cup,[19] the English Football League, Serie A,[20] Eredivisie and UEFA Nations League)[21] and rugby union events (including SANZAAR tournaments, Bledisloe Cup, Currie Cup, Major League Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup, Pro14, and the World Rugby Sevens Series).[16] In October 2018, ESPN+ obtained the rights for the Swedish Allsvenskan and the Danish Superliga as well, declaring their intent to broadcast one match per week for each league.[22]

ESPN+ features out of market Major League Soccer matches at no additional charge for subscribers (replacing the previous MLS Live service),[23][24] and the service holds exclusive rights to all regionally televised Chicago Fire matches through 2020 (as the second MLS team, behind Los Angeles FC's deal with YouTube TV, to sell its regional rights to a streaming service).[25][26] MLB.tv and NHL.tv (which are operated by BAMTech) are also available for purchase within the ESPN+ platform, and offer daily games during their regular seasons for ESPN+ subscribers.[4] PGA Tour Live (which was also ran by BAMTech) was included for the 2018 PGA Tour season, but moved to NBC Sports Gold in 2019.[27]

Even with the loss of PGA Tour Live, ESPN+ is still home to The Masters Films and The Masters Par 3 Contest. In October 2018, the PGA of America announced that ESPN would replace TNT as the early-round and weekend morning broadcaster. It also announced that all 72 holes would be featured on ESPN+ as well as featured groups and holes during the weekend coverage produced by CBS Sports.

It also carries ESPN original programming and documentaries, such as the 30 for 30 franchise (one entry, The Last Days of Knight, premiered on ESPN+ several weeks before its linear ESPN premiere), and exclusive original series. ESPN+ does not include access to the full ESPN linear channels, as they will only be available through "traditional or non-traditional" television providers. Thus, ESPN's major professional sports rights, including National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball coverage, are not included in the service.[11][4]

In May 2018, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) announced new five-year digital and linear television rights deals with ESPN, effective January 2019. 20 live UFC on ESPN+ Fight Night events per-year will be streamed exclusively by the service, as well as preliminaries for 10 live UFC on ESPN Fight Night events per-year. ESPN+ will also hold rights to supplemental content such as Dana White's Contender Series, archive content and PPV encores, and offer sales of UFC Fight Pass within the platform.[28][29][30][31] The first ESPN+ event, UFC Fight Night: Cejudo vs. Dillashaw, generated 525,000 new subscribers on the day of the event alone.[32]

On March 18, 2019, it was announced that ESPN had reached a two-year extension of its contract with the UFC, and that for residential customers, it will become the exclusive carrier of all future UFC pay-per-view events. An ESPN+ subscription will be required to purchase them, and they will no longer be sold through television providers.[33] Also that month, the American Athletic Conference announced a 12-year deal with ESPN, under which ESPN+ will carry the majority of events not aired by ESPN's linear channels.[34][35][36]

Original programming

Exclusive original series have also been produced for ESPN+:

Upcoming programming

  • Peyton's Places (July 2019)[45]

See also

References

  1. ^ https://www.bamtechmedia.com/news/2018/04/12/espn-app-and-espn-plus
  2. ^ a b Spangler, Todd (October 31, 2018). "Disney Puts Longtime ESPN Exec Russell Wolff in Charge of ESPN+ Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved November 12, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Bob Iger Talks Disney's Streaming Service, 'Roseanne,' James Gunn and a Coming 'Star Wars' "Slowdown"". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-11-09.
  4. ^ a b c d "ESPN+ will launch on April 12th for $4.99 per month". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  5. ^ "What's Behind Disney's $1 Billion Investment in Major League Baseball's Digital Arm". Variety. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  6. ^ Miller, Daniel (August 9, 2016). "Walt Disney Co. buys stake in video streaming service BAMTech". Los Angeles Times. Tronc. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  7. ^ Spangler, Todd (August 8, 2017). "Disney to End Netflix Deal, Sets Launch of ESPN and Disney-Branded Streaming Services". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved August 9, 2017.
  8. ^ "Disney Touts 2 New Streaming Services, Including ESPN Plus and One With a Live-Action Star Wars Series". Adweek. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  9. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved June 27, 2018.
  10. ^ "Disney's pursuit of Fox RSNs could be big boost for ESPN". FierceCable. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  11. ^ a b "Disney sets price for new ESPN Plus streaming service at $4.99 per month". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  12. ^ Lang, Brent (2018-02-06). "ESPN Streaming Service Coming This Spring for $4.99". Variety. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  13. ^ Wang, Christine (March 14, 2018). "Disney announces strategic reorganization, effective immediately". CNBC. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-08-21). "ESPN Insider Subscribers Being Switched to ESPN+ Streaming Service". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  15. ^ "U.S. fans with cable will have to pay $5/month more to watch the 68 CFL games on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2018-05-26.
  16. ^ a b Theisen, Lauren. "ESPN's New $4.99-A-Month Service Is Taking Away Some Programming On ESPN3". Deadspin. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  17. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-08-02). "ESPN Sets Landmark Boxing Deal With Top Rank Through 2025". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  18. ^ "Smart TV: ESPN+ to air over 1,100 Ivy games". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  19. ^ "ESPN+ signs deal for exclusive U.S. Open Cup rights through 2022". Awful Announcing. 2019-04-05. Retrieved 2019-04-05.
  20. ^ "ESPN enters into multi-year deal with Italy's Serie A". Washington Post. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  21. ^ a b "ESPN reveals entire soccer programming setup for ESPN+ that include MLS, UEFA matches and exclusive documentaries". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-06. Retrieved 2018-04-28.
  22. ^ https://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2018/10/espn-and-espn-acquire-rights-to-coppa-italia-and-supercoppa-italiana/
  23. ^ "ESPN's Web Service Gains Exclusive Pro Soccer Rights". Bloomberg.com. 2018-02-13. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  24. ^ "How to watch out-of-market MLS matches in 2018". MLSSoccer.com. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  25. ^ "FAQs: Chicago Fire on ESPN+". Chicago Fire. March 9, 2018. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  26. ^ Pimiento, Juan. "Chicago Fire sign exclusive TV deal with ESPN+ streaming service". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2018-03-10.
  27. ^ Spangler, Todd (2018-07-31). "NBC Sports, PGA Tour Ink Three-Year Deal for Live-Streaming Golf Subscription Package (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  28. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-05-08). "ESPN Enters The Octagon With UFC Streaming Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  29. ^ Hayes, Dade (2018-05-08). "ESPN Enters The Octagon With UFC Streaming Deal". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  30. ^ "Report: ESPN wrestles UFC television-rights deal away from Fox Sports". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  31. ^ "Report: ESPN lands UFC television rights deal, reportedly worth $150 million per year". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2018-05-23.
  32. ^ Alexander, Mookie (2019-01-21). "UFC's ESPN+ debut pulls in 525,000 new subscribers on Saturday night". Bloody Elbow. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  33. ^ "ESPN Extends With UFC; ESPN+ Becomes Exclusive PPV Provider". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  34. ^ "ESPN signs 12-year, $1 billion deal with AAC, moves lots of games to ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2019-03-19. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  35. ^ "AAC, ESPN Agree To 12-Year Media-Rights Deal Worth $1B". www.sportsbusinessdaily.com. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  36. ^ Murschel, Matt. "AAC leader Mike Aresco touts new media rights deal, addresses ESPN+ criticism". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  37. ^ "Kobe Bryant to produce and star in new basketball analysis show 'Detail,' to air on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  38. ^ "Peyton Manning to host NFL themed "Detail" show on ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-10-17. Retrieved 2018-10-18.
  39. ^ a b "Quest for the Stanley Cup moves from Showtime to ESPN+". Awful Announcing. 2018-04-13. Retrieved 2018-05-08.
  40. ^ "ESPN+ To Live Stream Hundreds of Soccer Matches". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  41. ^ "Disney kicks off its streaming future today with ESPN+". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  42. ^ "The Long Read: Will Disney's push over the top see ESPN reclaim the summit?". SportsPro. Retrieved 2017-12-19.
  43. ^ "TV networks will be panning for talent as part of the rush to claim gambling gold". Sporting News. 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-13.
  44. ^ Lucia, Joe (2 May 2018). "New ESPN digital shows include Katie Nolan late night show, daily SportsCenter series in ESPN app". Awful Announcing. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  45. ^ "Peyton Manning to Host New ESPN+ Original Series "Peyton's Places"". The Futon Critic. April 15, 2019.

External links

Anthony Davis

Anthony Marshon Davis Jr. (born March 11, 1993) is an American professional basketball player for the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He plays the power forward and center positions. Davis was selected first overall in the 2012 NBA draft by New Orleans, is a six-time NBA All-Star, and has been named to three All-NBA First Teams and three NBA All-Defensive Teams. He also earned a gold medal playing with Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Davis played one season of college basketball for the University of Kentucky, when he was first team All-American and the Consensus National Player of the Year. He also won the USBWA National Freshman of the Year, NABC Defensive Player of the Year and the Pete Newell Big Man Award. Davis led the NCAA in blocks and set Southeastern Conference and NCAA Division I freshman single-season blocked shots records. He led Kentucky to a National Championship and was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament.

Davis left college for the NBA after one season and was drafted by New Orleans, then known as the New Orleans Hornets, and was selected that summer to play for the Team USA in the 2012 Olympics. After his rookie season, he was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. The next season, he became an All-Star for the first time and led the NBA in blocked shots per game. He has since become a six-time All-Star and the youngest player to score at least 59 points in an NBA game. In 2017, he was named the recipient of the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award after setting an All-Star Game scoring record of 52 points en route.

Champions League Twenty20

The Champions League Twenty20, also referred to as the CLT20, was an annual international Twenty20 Cricket competition played between the top domestic teams from major cricketing nations. The competition was launched in 2008 with the first edition held in October 2009. It was jointly owned by the BCCI, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa, and was chaired by N. Srinivasan, who was also the chairman of the ICC. Sundar Raman was the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the CLT20 as well as the IPL.The tournament was held between September and October for a period of two to three weeks in either India or South Africa. It had a total prize pool of US$6 million, with the winning team receiving $2.5 million, the highest for a club cricket tournament in history. The format involved the best teams from the premier Twenty20 competitions of eight Test-playing nations, favouring the teams from India, Australia and South Africa.Owing to poor viewership, lack of audience interest, unstable sponsorships and lack of other necessary factors, the three founding cricket boards announced on 15 July 2015 that the tournament would be scrapped, thus the 2014 Champions League Twenty20 was the last series of the tournament.

Chris Paul

Christopher Emmanuel Paul (born May 6, 1985) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, an NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award, two Olympic gold medals, and led the NBA in assists four times and steals six times. He has also been selected to nine NBA All-Star teams, eight All-NBA teams, and nine NBA All-Defensive teams.

Paul was a McDonald's All-American in high school. He attended Wake Forest University for two years of college basketball, where he helped the Demon Deacons achieve their first-ever number one ranking. He was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NBA draft by the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed into one of the league's premier players, finishing second in NBA Most Valuable Player Award voting in 2008. During the 2011 off-season, Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, only for the transaction to be controversially voided by the NBA. Later that summer, he was dealt to the Los Angeles Clippers instead. Behind Paul's playmaking, the Clippers developed a reputation for their fast-paced offense and spectacular alley-oop dunks, earning them the nickname "Lob City". In 2017, he was traded to the Houston Rockets, and helped the team win a franchise-record 65 games in his debut season.

Off the court, Paul has served as the National Basketball Players Association president since August 2013. One of the highest-paid athletes in the world, he holds endorsement deals with companies such as Nike and State Farm.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lamonte Ollie Lillard Sr. (born July 15, 1990) is an American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for the Weber State Wildcats and earned third-team All-American honors in 2012. After being selected by Portland with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, Lillard was unanimously voted the NBA Rookie of the Year. He has received four NBA All-Star selections and is one of four players in Trail Blazers franchise history to become a four-time All-Star.

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. ( dwayn; born January 17, 1982) is an American former professional basketball player. Wade spent the majority of his 16-year career playing for the Miami Heat in the National Basketball Association. After a successful college basketball career with the Marquette Golden Eagles, Wade was drafted fifth overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Heat. In his third season, Wade led the Heat to their first NBA Championship in franchise history and was named the 2006 NBA Finals MVP. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Wade led the United States men's basketball team, commonly known as the "Redeem Team", in scoring, and helped them capture the gold medal. In the 2008–09 season, Wade led the league in scoring and earned his first NBA scoring title. With LeBron James and Chris Bosh, Wade helped guide Miami to four consecutive NBA Finals from 2011 to 2014, winning back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013. After playing for the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Wade was traded back to Miami in February 2018. A 13-time NBA All-Star, Wade is Miami's all-time leader in points, games, assists and steals, shots made and shots taken.

ESPN

ESPN (originally an initialism for Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) is a U.S.-based pay television sports channel owned by ESPN Inc., a joint venture owned by The Walt Disney Company (80%) and Hearst Communications (20%). The company was founded in 1979 by Bill Rasmussen along with his son Scott Rasmussen and Ed Egan.

ESPN broadcasts primarily from studio facilities located in Bristol, Connecticut. The network also operates offices in Miami, New York City, Seattle, Charlotte, and Los Angeles. James Pitaro currently serves as chairman of ESPN, a position he has held since March 5, 2018 due to the resignation of John Skipper on December 18, 2017 (who succeeded George Bodenheimer as president in 2012). While ESPN is one of the most successful sports networks, there has been much criticism of ESPN, which includes accusations of biased coverage, conflict of interest, and controversies with individual broadcasters and analysts.

As of January 2016, ESPN is available to approximately 91,405,000 paid television households (78.527% of households with at least one television set) in the United States. Nielsen has reported a much lower number in 2017, below 90,000,000 subscribers, losing more than 10,000 a day. In addition to the flagship channel and its seven related channels in the United States, ESPN broadcasts in more than 200 countries, operating regional channels in Australia, Brazil, Latin America and the United Kingdom, and owning a 20% interest in The Sports Network (TSN) as well as its five sister networks in Canada.

In 2011, ESPN's history and rise was chronicled in Those Guys Have All the Fun, a nonfiction book written by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales and published by Little, Brown and Company.

ESPNcricinfo

ESPNcricinfo (formerly known as Cricinfo or CricInfo) is a sports news website exclusively for the game of cricket. The site features news, articles, live coverage of cricket matches (including liveblogs and scorecards), and StatsGuru, a database of historical matches and players from the 18th century to the present. As of March 2018, Sambit Bal was the editor.

The site, originally conceived in a pre-World Wide Web form in 1993 by Dr Simon King, was acquired in 2002 by the Wisden Group—publishers of several notable cricket magazines and the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. As part of an eventual breakup of the Wisden Group, it was sold to ESPN, jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, in 2007.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Sina Ougko Antetokounmpo (YAH-nis AHN-teh-tuh-KOOM-poh; Greek: Γιάννης Αντετοκούνμπο, IPA: [ˈʝanis adetoˈkumbo]; born December 6, 1994) is a Greek professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Although nearly 7 feet tall, Antetokounmpo possesses the "ball-handling skills of a point guard and the battering ram force of an old school center," giving rise to his nickname the Greek Freak. During the 2015–16 season he became the Bucks' primary playmaker, and in 2016–17 he led the Bucks in all five major statistical categories and became the first player in NBA history to finish a regular season in the top 20 in total points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. He received the Most Improved Player award in 2017. He has received three All-Star selections, and led the Eastern Conference in voting in 2019. Several pundits consider Antetokounmpo to be the best basketball player alive.

James Harden

James Edward Harden Jr. (born August 26, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played college basketball for Arizona State, where he was named a consensus All-American and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2009. Harden was selected with the third overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2012, he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with the Thunder and helped the team reach the NBA Finals, where they lost to the Miami Heat in five games.

Harden was traded to Houston before the 2012–13 NBA season. During his tenure with the Rockets, he became one of the NBA's most prolific scorers and earned recognition as the best shooting guard in the NBA, as well as one of the top overall players in the league. In 2018, Harden led the league in scoring and was named the NBA Most Valuable Player. He is a seven-time NBA All-Star, and has earned All-NBA Team honors five times, including four times to the first team.

Harden is a two-time member of the United States national basketball team, winning gold medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics and 2014 FIBA World Cup.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Wayne Durant (born September 29, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played one season of college basketball for the University of Texas, and was selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 2007 NBA draft. He played nine seasons in Oklahoma City before signing with Golden State in 2016, winning back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.

Durant was a heavily recruited high school prospect who was widely regarded as the second-best player in his class. In college, he won numerous year-end awards and became the first freshman to be named Naismith College Player of the Year. As a professional, he has won two NBA championships, an NBA Most Valuable Player Award, two Finals MVP Awards, two NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Awards, four NBA scoring titles, the NBA Rookie of the Year Award, and two Olympic gold medals. Durant has also been selected to eight All-NBA teams and ten NBA All-Star teams.

Off the court, Durant is one of the highest-earning basketball players in the world, due in part to endorsement deals with companies such as Foot Locker and Nike. He has developed a reputation for philanthropy and regularly leads the league in All-Star votes and jersey sales. In recent years, he has contributed to The Players' Tribune as both a photographer and writer. In 2012, he ventured into acting, appearing in the film Thunderstruck.

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bean Bryant (born August 23, 1978), often referred to mononymously as Kobe, is an American former professional basketball player. He played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. He led the NBA in scoring during two seasons and ranks third on the league's all-time regular season scoring and fourth on the all-time postseason scoring list. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Bryant is the first guard in NBA history to play at least 20 seasons.

Bryant is the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant. He enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. Upon graduation, he declared for the NBA draft and was selected by the Charlotte Hornets in the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. The Hornets then traded him to the Lakers. As a rookie, Bryant earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the 1997 Slam Dunk Contest, and he was named an All-Star by his second season. Despite a feud between the two players, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive NBA championships from 2000 to 2002.

In 2003, Bryant was accused of sexual assault, but the charges were eventually dropped, and a civil suit was settled out of court. After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat and Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers. He led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Bryant was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2008. After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, he led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the Finals MVP Award on both occasions. He continued to be among the top players in the league through 2013 until he suffered a torn Achilles tendon at age 34. Although he recovered, his play was limited the following two years by season-ending injuries to his knee and shoulder, respectively. Citing his physical decline, he announced that he would retire after the 2015–16 season.

At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He became the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history on February 1, 2010, when he surpassed Jerry West. During his third year in the league, Bryant was chosen to start the All-Star Game, and he would continue to be selected to start that game for a record 18 consecutive appearances until his retirement. His four All-Star MVP Awards are tied for the most in NBA history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball.

LeBron James

LeBron Raymone James Sr. (; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is often considered the best basketball player in the world and regarded by some as the greatest player of all time. His accomplishments include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. James has appeared in fifteen NBA All-Star Games and been named NBA All-Star MVP three times. He won the 2008 NBA scoring title, is the all-time NBA playoffs scoring leader, and is fourth in all-time career points scored. He has been voted onto the All-NBA First Team twelve times and the All-Defensive First Team five times.

James played basketball for St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he was heavily touted by the national media as a future NBA superstar. A prep-to-pro, he joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003 as the first overall draft pick. Named the 2003–04 NBA Rookie of the Year, he soon established himself as one of the league's premier players; he won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2009 and 2010. After failing to win a championship with Cleveland, James left in 2010 to sign as a free agent with the Miami Heat. This move was announced in an ESPN special titled The Decision, and is one of the most controversial free agent decisions in American sports history.

James won his first two NBA championships while playing for the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He was named league MVP and NBA Finals MVP in both championship years. After his fourth season with the Heat in 2014, James opted out of his contract to re-sign with the Cavaliers. In 2016, he led the Cavaliers to victory over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, delivering the team's first championship and ending Cleveland's 52-year professional sports title drought. James's teams appeared in the NBA Finals in eight consecutive seasons (from 2011 to 2018). In 2018, James opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers to sign with the Lakers.

Off the court, James has accumulated additional wealth and fame from numerous endorsement contracts. His public life has been the subject of much scrutiny, and he has been ranked as one of America's most influential and popular athletes. He has been featured in books, documentaries, and television commercials. He has also hosted the ESPY Awards and Saturday Night Live, and appeared in the 2015 film Trainwreck.

Lionel Messi

Lionel Andrés Messi Cuccittini (Spanish pronunciation: [ljoˈnel anˈdɾez ˈmesi] (listen); born 24 June 1987) is an Argentine professional footballer who plays as a forward and captains both FC Barcelona and the Argentina national team. Often considered the best player in the world and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Messi has a record-tying five Ballon d'Or awards, four of which he won consecutively, and a record five European Golden Shoes. He has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, where he has won a club-record 34 trophies, including ten La Liga titles, four UEFA Champions League trophies and six Copas del Rey. Both a prolific goalscorer and a creative playmaker, Messi holds the records for the most goals in La Liga (419), a La Liga and European league season (50), the most hat-tricks in the UEFA Champions League (8), and the most assists in La Liga (167) and the Copa América (11). He has scored over 690 senior career goals for club and country.

Born and raised in central Argentina, Messi was diagnosed with a growth hormone deficiency as a child. At age 13, he relocated to Spain to join Barcelona, who agreed to pay for his medical treatment. After a fast progression through Barcelona's youth academy, Messi made his competitive debut aged 17 in October 2004. Despite being injury-prone during his early career, he established himself as an integral player for the club within the next three years, finishing 2007 as a finalist for both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award, a feat he repeated the following year. His first uninterrupted season was 2008–09, during which he helped Barcelona achieve the first treble in Spanish football. At 22 years old, Messi won the 2009 Ballon d'Or and the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year award by record voting margins.

Three successful seasons followed, with Messi winning three consecutive FIFA Ballons d'Or, including an unprecedented fourth. During the 2011–12 season, he set the La Liga and European records for most goals scored in a single season, while establishing himself as Barcelona's all-time top scorer in official competitions in March 2012. The following two seasons, Messi finished twice second for the Ballon d'Or behind Cristiano Ronaldo, his perceived career rival. Messi regained his best form during the 2014–15 campaign, breaking the all-time goalscoring records in both La Liga and the Champions League in November 2014, and leading Barcelona to a historic second treble.

An Argentine international, Messi is his country's all-time leading goalscorer. At youth level, he won the 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, finishing the tournament with both the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe, and an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. His style of play as a diminutive, left-footed dribbler drew comparisons with his compatriot Diego Maradona, who described Messi as his successor. After his senior debut in August 2005, Messi became the youngest Argentine to play and score in a FIFA World Cup during the 2006 edition, and reached the final of the 2007 Copa América, where he was named young player of the tournament. As the squad's captain from August 2011, he led Argentina to three consecutive finals: the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which he won the Golden Ball, and the 2015 and 2016 Copas América. After announcing his international retirement in 2016, he reversed his decision and led his country to qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

List of current UFC fighters

This list of current UFC fighters records current Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) fighters info, country origins, recent fighter signings and departures, fight schedules and results, the champion of each division, as well as top 5 UFC records.

The UFC is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, founded in 1993 by Art Davie and Rorion Gracie. The organization was purchased from its parent company SEG in 2001 by Zuffa LLC, a promotional company owned by Las Vegas casino magnates, Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta and managed by Dana White (current president of operations). World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) was purchased by Zuffa in 2006 and officially merged under the UFC brand on January 1, 2011. UFC was sold to WME-IMG in 2016, and WME-IMG changed its holding name to Endeavor in September 2017.As of February 10, 2018 the UFC roster consisted of fighters from 60 countries as of in February 2019.

Fighters representing the United States, Brazil, Russia, Canada and England/Mexico are among the top five countries in the list as per the date indicated only for the number could change week by week. Updated as of February 2, 2019.

Stephen Curry

Wardell Stephen "Steph" Curry II ( STEF-ən; born March 14, 1988) is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A six-time NBA All-Star, he has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice and won three NBA championships with the Warriors. Many players and analysts have called him the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball by inspiring teams to regularly employ the three-point shot as part of their winning strategy.In 2014–15, Curry won his first MVP award and led the Warriors to their first championship since 1975. The following season, he became the first player in NBA history to be elected MVP by a unanimous vote and to lead the league in scoring while shooting above 50–40–90. That same year, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season en route to reaching the 2016 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry helped the Warriors return to the NBA Finals in 2017 and 2018, where they won back-to-back titles.

Curry is the son of former NBA player Dell Curry and older brother of current NBA player Seth Curry. He played college basketball for Davidson. There, he was twice named Southern Conference Player of the Year and set the all-time scoring record for both Davidson and the Southern Conference. During his sophomore year, he also set the single-season NCAA record for three-pointers made.

During the 2012–13 season, Curry set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a regular season with 272. He surpassed that record in 2015 with 286, and again in 2016 with 402. Curry is currently third in all-time made three-pointers in NBA history. The 2012–13 season saw Curry and teammate Klay Thompson earn the nickname of the Splash Brothers, with the pair going on to set the NBA record for combined three-pointers in a season with 484 in 2013–14, a record they broke the following season (525) and again in the 2015–16 season (678).

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