Fubo, Dish, DIRECTV Call for Hearings on New Sports Streamer


FuboTV, Dish Network and DIRECTV are among a group of companies asking the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on the new sports streaming venture planned by Fox Corporation, Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney, highlighting their concerns about competition in the pay-TV market.

In a letter addressed to the heads of the Congress’s commerce and judiciary committees, the companies highlight that the upcoming sports joint venture would control 80 percent of live national sports broadcasts. “We cannot think of any scenario in the history of the United States where consumer interests have been served when such an important industry—here, access to live sports—is effectively controlled by three programming giants which decided to combine forces instead of competing against each other,” the letter states.

The letter also accuses these vertically integrated media companies of using “anticompetitive and inflationary contract restrictions on distributors that will insulate the JV’s streaming service from head-to-head competition because these contract restrictions prohibit competing distributors from offering consumers their own ‘skinny,’ live sports bundle.” The new venture, the letter maintains, “will eventually dominate the distribution market for live sports and will drive out competition, leaving consumers captive to the JV for live sports—unless Congress and regulators intervene.”

The letter references the 1992 Cable Act, which helped open up the nascent pay-TV space to new entrants. “We are at the same inflection point now,” the letter states. “The JV partners demand that their competitors offer ‘big fat bundles’ of programming (as described by Disney’s CEO) that include many unwanted but expensive channels, while their own JV service offers a much skinnier package consisting only of ‘must have’ sports channels. Americans love their live sports and entertainment, and they expect Congress to ensure competition and choice in accessing these shows. We thus urge you and your colleagues to hold hearings as soon as possible on the future of pay TV.”

The letter is signed by FuboTV, DIRECTV, the American Economic Liberties Project, the Open Markets Institute, DISH Network, Newsmax, the Sports Fan Coalition and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.