Could Comcast & Spectrum Block the New Sports-Only Live TV Service from Fox, Disney, & Warner Bros. Discovery? – Ask Luke





This month Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced plans to launch a new sports streaming service that will give live access to sports networks like ESPN, FS1, and BTN. Now a growing number of companies are objecting to and may even try to block the service. This includes several cable TV companies that are reportedly looking at their options to fight it.

Could cable TV companies block Fox, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery from launching this sports-only live TV service? Today we are going to try and answer that question.

First, what is “Ask Luke”? This is a regular series where Luke of Cord Cutters News answers common questions from our readers. The answers are our personal opinions to help you learn more.

Can cable TV companies like Comcast and Spectrum block this new service?

At issue here is the demand from cable TV companies that they also be allowed to offer a similar bundle of sports and local channels owned by these networks without other expensive channels like CNN and the Disney Channel. The big three sports companies—Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery—have blocked such plans in the past, forcing customers to pay for numerous channels to get sports.

Now, according to Craig Moffet from MoffetNathanson in a statement to CNBC, this deal could break the “most favored nation clause” that gives the big cable TV companies the best deals. He says he wouldn’t be surprised if there are some lawsuits over this new streaming service as cable companies believe it may have violated their contracts with Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery.

The new service is scheduled for a fall 2024 launch; however, lawsuits and other legal issues could cause delays. For now, the big three behind this service seem dedicated to launching it on time even if it upsets some of their traditional cable TV partners.

The true question here is what is in the contract between these media companies and cable TV companies like Spectrum and Comcast. Outright stopping the service seems unlikely according to experts we have talked to but this could alter the TV contracts cable TV companies have.

Instead of blocking this new service, it is more likely that cable TV companies get their contracts changed to allow them to launch a service similar less expensive sports-only service or sell it directly to their customers in partnership with the media companies.

For now, cable TV companies seem to be looking at all their options as they see this new service as a real threat.

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