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Fox hopes to get 5 million customers for sports streaming service, CEO says

A television studio used by Fox Sports in Los Angeles. (Courtesy image)
A television studio used by Fox Sports in Los Angeles. (Courtesy image)

Fox Corporation is hoping its forthcoming sports-centric streaming service will grab at least 5 million subscribers within the first five years of operation, the company’s chief executive affirmed on Monday.

Speaking at the 2024 Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch characterized its sports joint venture with the Walt Disney Company’s ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) TNT Sports as “a pro-consumer package” that will make it easy for consumers to find the sports content they want from a single offering.

The service, which has yet to be named (though executives are leaning toward a few options), will offer Fox and ABC’s broadcast networks along with Fox, Disney and WBD-owned sports-inclusive cable channels like Fox Sports 1, ESPN, TBS, TNT and Tru TV. Some college sports networks will be offered as well.

Current plans involving excluding non-sports channels like FX, National Geographic, Fox News and CNN from the product, something that has rankled cable and satellite providers who say they’ve long wanted to offer the same package of channels but have been prevented from doing so by unfair bundling terms that drive up the cost of their products.

At least one pay TV provider, Fubo, is suing the broadcast trio over its plans to develop and launch a sports streamer by the end of the year. Like other pay TV companies, Fubo says the sweetheart terms Fox, Disney and WBD are offering its joint venture are unfair when compared to the terms imposed on cable and satellite companies.

“As evident in the antitrust lawsuit we filed against these parties last month, their proposed sports streaming joint venture is only the latest example of the pernicious practices they have inflicted to suppress our business and harm consumers,” Fubo CEO David Gandler said in a statement last week after the company reported its 2023 financial earnings. “We are asking for an opportunity to compete fairly as a business, and to offer consumers a streaming option that gives them the channels they want, and at a fair price.”

Murdoch didn’t address the pending federal lawsuit, but did say that the sports-focused streaming service targets the 60 million U.S. television households that want sports programming without an expensive cable or satellite package.

“That’s half the TV households in the country,” Murdoch said. “And we know that sports is the number one driver…[of] viewership and subscriptions.”

Murdoch affirmed he’s not “overly concerned” about any regulatory hurdles involving the sports joint venture.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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