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Fox exec says Tubi business “doesn’t support” live sports

The logo of Fox Corporation’s free streaming service Tubi. (Image via Tubi app on Rokui, Graphic by The Desk)

Fox Corporation is unlikely to place live sporting events on its free, ad-supported streamer Tubi anytime soon, according to comments made by an executive this week.

Speaking at the UBS Global TMT event on Monday, Fox’s Chief Financial Officer Steve Tomsic said Tubi’s business model of providing streamers with free content that is supported by advertising doesn’t mesh well with the broadcast network’s plan for live sports over the long term.

“The Tubi model doesn’t support big, high-profile live rights,” Tomsic affirmed at the event. “But I think that those sort of rights continue to belong where they are right now for us.”

Tomsic’s comments strongly suggest that Fox will continue to relegate live sports like National Football League and Major League Baseball telecasts to its flagship broadcast television network and cable sports channels.

Fox is an outlier in the streaming media landscape in that the company doesn’t offer live sports telecasts of big-ticket events on a streaming service. Paramount Global offers sports from CBS on its Paramount Plus streaming service, which starts at $5 a month, while Comcast’s Peacock offers similar live sports at the same price point. The Walt Disney Company operates ESPN Plus, which streams live events from the National Hockey League and simulcasts some Monday Night Football and other events for $10 a month or $100 a year.

Streamers who want to watch events from NFL, MLB, USFL, NASCAR and other leagues still have to watch Fox for free with an antenna, or subscribe to cable, satellite or a streaming cable alternative like Sling TV or Vidgo.

Tubi has seen some sports programming added to its service since Fox acquired it for $440 million nearly three years ago. The app added a “Sports on Tubi” vertical collating sports replays from major franchises, including MLB, NFL and NASCAR, though no live events are offered. This month, Tubi also began hosting replays of World Cup events about an hour after they air on the Fox network and Fox Sports 1, with video available in ultra-high definition and with limited commercial interruption.

For now, Tubi streamers will have to do with older sports content that still has enough of a shelf life for Fox to capitalize on the programming, but those who want cable-free access to live games on Fox and its cable networks are going to be waiting a while longer.

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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 11 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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