FuboTV’s deal with Disney makes it a force in sports streaming
FuboTV, the New York City–based Internet TV provider that gained prominence as a hub for international soccer, is expanding its reach in the sports world.
Starting later this summer FuboTV will stream all ESPN channels, primetime broadcaster ABC, and college sports channels SEC Network and ACC Network, FuboTV’s parent company FaceBank Group announced on Wednesday. The new channels come thanks to a distribution deal with Disney, which owns all of them (not to mention FX, the Disney Channel, Freeform, National Geographic, and others, to which FuboTV subscribers will also gain access).
FuboTV had long built itself up as a destination for sports fans, widening its offerings back in 2017 to include games and related content from the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. But a licensing deal with ESPN, the leading sports network, had eluded FuboTV—subscribers missed out on Monday Night Football on ESPN or primetime NBA games on ABC, among other nationally televised offerings. In 2018, FuboTV cofounder and CEO David Gandler said Disney would be “a fantastic partner.” At the time Disney was gearing up to launch its own streaming service, Disney+, and was in no rush to lower its licensing fees.
Now, Gandler says, “With the addition to our lineup of the ESPN suite of channels, we continue to make good on our promise to sports fans to be the undisputed home of professional and college sports.”
He has a point. With the Disney deal complete, FuboTV now has America’s most popular sport, the NFL, fully covered—ESPN, CBS, Fox, NBC, the NFL Network, and NFL RedZone are all available on the streamer.
FuboTV subscribers will also get access to more MLB, NHL, and NBA games, all of which are nationally televised on ESPN, ESPN 2, and sometimes on ABC (in the NBA’s case). The platform also has a plethora of options for college sports and strengthened its original selling point with ESPN and ESPN Deportes broadcasting U.S. and international soccer.
FuboTV isn’t the only Internet TV service that offers sports—or even ESPN and ABC. Competitors Sling, YouTube TV, and Hulu with Live TV (which Disney has a controlling stake in) each enjoy licenses that compete for viewers’ attention. But unlike the others, FuboTV positioned itself as sports-first from the start. That’s more clear than ever with the addition of ESPN and ABC.
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