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FuboTV file lawsuit against Disney, WBD, and Fox over proposed sports streaming joint venture

With each passing day, the proposed merger faces more roadblocks

FuboTV, a live sports streaming service based in New York, has initiated legal action against US media giants Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), and Fox Corporation. The lawsuit aims to halt the trio's plans to launch a joint sports streaming package.

The suit alleges that Disney, Fox, WBD along with ESPN and Hulu—both owned by Disney—have been involved in a multi-year campaign to obstruct Fubo's sports-first streaming business. This alleged interference has reportedly caused significant harm to both FuboTV and its consumers.

Furthermore, the complaint accuses the proposed joint venture of "stealing Fubo’s playbook" by launching their own streaming service later this year—a move that allegedly violates antitrust laws.

Fubo wants either the merger to be blocked or restricted

Filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, Fubo's lawsuit seeks either to block this joint venture or impose restrictions on its launch. Specifically mentioned is an "economic parity of licensing terms," which would ensure fair competition between all parties involved.

Fubo released a statement:

“Defendants also impose non-market penetration requirements (the percentage of total subscribers to which a content package must be sold to or cannot exceed) on Fubo.

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

Fubo co-founder and chief executive, David 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.

Disney, WBD, and Fox hold rights for every major sporting event

The complaints primarily revolve around an announcement made earlier this month by Disney, WBD and Fox Corp about their plans for a combined streaming platform. This platform would offer content from linear channels such as ESPN (Disney), TNT (WBD), TBS (WBD), truTV (WBD), FS1(Fox) and FS2(Fox).

Once active, this new service will broadcast content from major US properties including NFL football games; MLB baseball games; NBA basketball games; WNBA women’s basketball games; NHL ice hockey matches; MLS matches; NASCAR motor racing events among others.

Additionally high-profile sporting events like PGA Tour golf tournaments UFC mixed martial arts fights FIFA World Cup matches will also be included. The pricing details for this bundle have not yet been disclosed.

The trio plans to make the streaming bundle available directly to consumers via a new, as-yet-unnamed streaming platform and as an add-on via existing streaming services Disney+, Hulu, and Max.

According to Fubo, the merger can lead to monopoly pricing 

FuboTV's lawsuit accuses the media giants of using their "iron grip on sports content" to extract billions in supra-competitive profits. This has allegedly led consumers to pay more for popular sports content.

The suit also alleges that these media companies are charging FuboTV licensing rates that are up to 50% higher than those charged to other distributors—a practice that may violate antitrust laws.

This lawsuit comes at a time when the US Department of Justice is reportedly preparing an investigation into whether this joint streaming platform breaches antitrust regulations. The department is specifically examining whether acquiring rights from such a wide range of major sports properties could potentially harm fans, leagues themselves, and rival broadcast organizations.

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