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Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox Sued Over Sports Streaming Merger

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox Sued Over Sports Streaming Merger

By Movieguide® Contributor

Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox’s sports streaming merger might not happen as Fubo TV recently issued an antitrust lawsuit against the entertainment giants.

A statement from Fubo said, “the vertically-integrated media companies have engaged in a years-long campaign to block Fubo’s innovative sports-first streaming business resulting in significant harm to both Fubo and consumers. The complaint alleges that the forthcoming launch of a sports-streaming joint venture steals Fubo’s playbook and is the latest example of this campaign.”

“For decades, Defendants have leveraged their iron grip on sports content to extract billions of dollars in supra-competitive profits from distributors and consumers. Defendants earned many of these profits by ‘bundling’ their commercially critical sports content with other, less desirable content—forcing sports fans to purchase channels they did not want,” Fubo’s filing read.

“And once they have combined forces, Defendants’ incentive to exclude Fubo and other rivals will only increase,” it continued.

Movieguide® previously reported on the merger:

Disney CEO Bob Iger said that the entertainment industry will take “an important step forward” with this new move.

Per CNBC, “From Disney, that includes ESPN and its sister networks, such as ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, as well as the ABC broadcast network. Warner Bros. Discovery’s networks that showcase sports are TNT, TBS and TruTV. Fox will include the Fox broadcast station along with FS1, FS2 and BTN.”

“This is obviously a nice, positive step for fans,” media industry analyst Rich Greenfield, a co-founder of LightShed Partners, said.

“The launch of this new streaming sports service is a significant moment for Disney and ESPN, a major win for sports fans, and an important step forward for the media business,” Iger said in a statement. “This means the full suite of ESPN channels will be available to consumers alongside the sports programming of other industry leaders as part of a differentiated sports-centric service. I’m grateful to Jimmy Pitaro and the team at ESPN, who are at the forefront of innovating on behalf of consumers to create new offerings with more choice and greater value.”

Fubo believes that unless the merger is stopped, “Defendants’ JV will substantially increase Defendants’ incentives—both individually and collectively—to deny access and/or charge higher content prices to third-party distributors that depend on access to Defendants’ must-have sports channels, irrevocably reducing competition in the market and harming consumers,” the lawsuit also said.

“Faced with the threat of disruptive competition from Fubo and other upstarts, Defendants have responded by locking arms (and locking others out) to steal Fubo’s core business idea—a sports-centric package of channels—while blocking Fubo from offering that same package.”

Not only does Fubo TV want a payout from the trio, but the company also wants to shut the entire merger down.

“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,” Fubo CEO, 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. This strategy ensures that consumers desiring a dedicated sports channel lineup are left with no alternative but to subscribe to the Defendants’ joint venture.”

“Simply put, this sports cartel blocked our playbook for many years and now they are effectively stealing it for themselves,” he added.

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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