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Fubo Explains Why It Filed ‘Sports Cartel’ Antitrust Lawsuit Against Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery

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After news broke that Fubo is suing Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery over their new sports-focused streaming service, Fubo has now explained why it decided to file an antitrust lawsuit against this “sports cartel.”

Fubo alleges that the media companies involved have engaged in “a years-long campaign” against Fubo, and the launch of the new streaming service is simply the “latest example of this campaign.”

Essentially, Fubo argues that, after years of trying to offer consumers a sports-focused streaming alternative, Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery are now stealing the idea. Not only that, but the companies have intentionally been limiting what Fubo can offer, and at what price, through its existing and previous carriage deals.

For example, forcing Fubo to bundle channels subscribers don’t want (expensive non-sports channels) with the channels they do want (sports channels). This bundling inevitably increases the price Fubo pays, and this higher rate is then passed on to consumers.

Fubo doesn’t just accuse the companies of bundling to increase consumer cost, but also of charging “content licensing rates that are as much as 30%-50%+ higher than rates they charge other distributors.” This is in addition to non-market penetration requirements that have also resulted in the price Fubo (and its customers) pays. Ultimately, Fubo believes these antitrust practices have resulted in the company incurring “billions of dollars in damages” over the years.

In a continuation of these practices, Fubo also alleges that the new streaming service is simply another way for the companies to “eliminate competition” and capture the sports streaming market for themselves.

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. 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,” said David Gandler, Fubo Co-founder and CEO.

As for what Fubo hopes to achieve with the lawsuit? Among other things, similar licensing terms to the joint venture along with “substantial damages” from Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery.

John Finn

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