Fubo sues Fox, Disney, and Warner Bros. to block their combined sports streaming app

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Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s surprise partnership to create a sports streaming platform hasn’t sat well with the TV streaming service Fubo. Today, Fubo filed an antitrust lawsuit against the three companies following what it calls “a years-long campaign to block Fubo’s innovative sports-first streaming business” at consumers’ expense.

Fubo CEO David Gandler said that the three companies had “blocked our playbook for many years, and now they are effectively stealing it for themselves.” Fubo has styled itself as a “sports-focused” streaming service, but the company says restrictive licensing terms from sports networks have limited its options. It argues that “unfair” bundling terms have made it pay for and distribute “expensive non-sports channels that Fubo’s customers do not want as a condition of licensing” these sports channels.

The Wall Street Journal noted today that Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery may charge around $50 a month for their new service — that’s quite a bit cheaper than what you’d pay for sports from Fubo or YouTube TV. Fubo says that’s by design, accusing the trio of charging it more than the market rate to license their content. The company says that it’s asking a judge to either block or limit the venture by requiring “economic parity of licensing terms,” as well as to award it damages.

The sports streaming alliance makes business sense for Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery, as The Verge’s Emma Roth wrote last week, but it’s a risky time to do it, given all the regulatory moves the US government has been taking. The Department of Justice is reportedly already reviewing the companies’ plan to determine whether it will hurt consumers if it goes through, Bloomberg reported last week.

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