Fubo Gets a Date in Court In Its Efforts to Stop Disney, FOX, & Warner Bros Discovery From Launching a New Sports Streaming Service





The fight over Walt Disney’s ESPN, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s planned sports streaming joint venture is heading to court thanks to a lawsuit from Fubo trying to block it. Earlier this year, Fubo sued Fox, Disney, and Warner Bros. Discovery over its new streaming service. Now, the court has set an August 7, 2024, date to look at a preliminary injunction to stop the joint venture. This date will come weeks before the expected launch window for the new streaming service giving Fubo an effort to block its launch.

This all comes as Fubo launched an advertising campaign this month with one of its goals: to convince the federal government to investigate the new streaming service.

“Fubo believes the partners of the sports streaming joint venture (The Walt Disney Company, FOX Corp., Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc.) have engaged in anticompetitive behavior that has stifled competition and caused harm to Fubo and consumers for many years. The sports streaming JV is only the latest example.” Fubo said in a statement sent to Cord Cutters News.

The live streaming service is suing to block the joint venture, and alleges in a lawsuit that three media giants stole from the Fubo playbook and that this new venture is the latest attempt in a years-long campaign to block its business. The lawsuit was first spotted by Eriq Gardner.

Fubo also launched a SaveMySports website to promote this fight.

“This sports cartel blocked our playbook for many years and now they are effectively stealing it for themselves,” CEO David Gandler said in a statement.

Last month Disney, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery announced the partnership, which would offer 14 live channels of sports, including ESPN, BTN, FOX Sports, and sports from TNT—to name a few. This would address one of the main complaints of streaming services—the need to switch between apps to see all the games.

But the partnership has elicited backlash from a myriad of parties, from small cable companies to even the sports leagues, which are busy reviewing their own contracts.

Fubo also took aim at the media companies’ requirement that it carry multiple non-sports channels as a condition of getting access to the likes of ESPN and FS1. The forced “bundling” now puts it at a disadvantage over the new JV, which will only carry sports-centric channels. It added that Fubo gets charged licensing rates that are 30% to 50% higher than other distributors.

“These actions individually and collectively increase the costs Fubo must pass onto customers,” the company said. “Fubo believes it has incurred billions of dollars in damages as a result of the Defendants’ actions.”

ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery declined to comment. FOX didn’t immediately respond for comment.

With Fubo focused heavily on sports streaming, it is easy to understand why it could be worried about this new joint venture. The service threatens to remove the middleman costs of a service like Fubo, potentially allowing the JV to offer a lower price.

“Each of these companies has consistently engaged in anticompetitive practices that aim to monopolize the market, stifle any form of competition, create higher pricing for subscribers and cheat consumers from deserved choice,” Gandler said. “By joining together to exclusively reserve the rights to distribute a specialized live sports package, we believe these corporations are erecting insurmountable barriers that will effectively block any new competitors from entering the market.”

Look for cable TV companies and other streaming services to push back against this planned streaming service.

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