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FuboTV Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Media Giants, Alleging Unfair Practices

 |  February 20, 2024

FuboTV Inc., known as Fubo, a prominent sports-first live TV streaming platform, has taken legal action against media titans The Walt Disney Company, FOX Corp., Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc., and their affiliates, citing antitrust practices that have hindered fair competition and harmed consumers. The lawsuit, filed today, contends that the defendants’ upcoming launch of a sports streaming joint venture is poised to eliminate competition and inflate prices, echoing longstanding grievances over anti-competitive maneuvers.

Fubo’s complaint outlines a protracted history of obstructionism, asserting that the defendants have systematically impeded the growth of Fubo’s sports-oriented streaming service. Founded nearly a decade ago, Fubo aimed to provide consumers with a cost-effective alternative to conventional cable bundles, centered around sports content. However, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants, wielding their dominance over sports programming, have extracted exorbitant profits through anti-competitive means, ultimately driving up costs for both Fubo and its clientele.

Central to Fubo’s accusations are tactics such as unfair bundling, wherein the defendants compel Fubo to carry a plethora of non-sports channels alongside desired sports content. This practice, as detailed in legal filings, imposes financial burdens on Fubo and its customers, forcing them to absorb the costs of unwanted programming. Moreover, Fubo contends that the defendants have imposed discriminatory content licensing rates, significantly inflating expenses for Fubo while granting preferential treatment to other distributors. Such actions, the lawsuit argues, have inflicted substantial financial losses on Fubo, amounting to billions of dollars.

The complaint further alleges that the defendants have stifled Fubo’s ability to innovate and compete by restricting its access to desirable streaming products, despite offering similar options to rival services. Fubo portrays the defendants’ recent announcement of a joint venture in the sports streaming sector as the latest maneuver in a concerted effort to monopolize the market, marginalizing competitors like Fubo in the process.

According to Fubo’s assertions, the collaboration among the defendants consolidates their grip on the U.S. sports rights market, leaving competitors at a severe disadvantage. By leveraging their collective control over coveted sports content, the defendants purportedly aim to channel these assets exclusively through their joint venture, further entrenching their dominance and limiting consumer choice.

In response to the lawsuit, representatives for the defendants have not issued public statements. However, legal experts anticipate a protracted legal battle, underscoring the high stakes involved in the burgeoning streaming landscape. The outcome of this case could have far-reaching implications for the future of competition in the sports streaming market and the broader media industry.

Source: Morning Star