Feb 20, 2024 - Business

Fubo TV sues to stop ESPN, Warner and Fox sports streaming plan

LeBron James #23 of the Western Conference during the 2024 NBA All Star Game on Sunday February 18th, 2024.

LeBron James during the 2024 NBA All Star Game on Feb. 18, which aired on TNT. Photo: Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images.

Fubo TV has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to block the planned sports streaming service from Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox.

Why it matters: The streaming joint venture surprised distributors and sports league partners and has prompted a range of criticism that will loom around the government's reported review of the deal on antitrust grounds.

Details: The suit, which was filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeks to block the streaming service ahead of its planned fall debut.

  • Fubo said in a press release that the joint venture would give those three networks less incentive to make their channels available on Fubo and other distributors, as well as charging Fubo above market rates.
  • In addition to an injunction against the planned streaming service, Fubo is asking for a jury trial and punitive damages.
  • ESPN declined to comment, while representatives for Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery did not immediately respond.

The big picture: The lawsuit highlights the growing unrest in the sports and pay-TV community ever since the three networks announced the JV during Super Bowl week.

  • For years, distributors have sought to offer the same type of sports-centric TV package but met resistance from three major entities: Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Fox
  • "Simply put, this sports cartel blocked our playbook for many years and now they are effectively stealing it for themselves," David Gandler, Fubo's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.
  • League partners, including the NFL and NBA, are reportedly angry with the networks over being left out of the planning process.
Go deeper