You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

FuboTV Launches Free, Ad-Supported Streaming Sports Network

FuboTV, one of the players duking it out in the competitive internet pay-TV arena, is dropping into the free streaming-video market with a network it wants to distribute as widely as possible — off its own platform.

On Thursday, the company is soft-launching the Fubo Sports Network: a live, free-to-consumer TV network for U.S. sports fans offering event coverage, news, and exclusive programming. As part of the initiative, FuboTV is developing its first slate of original content, which it’s rolling out in stages.

“There’s an opportunity to cater to the demand for free content,” said David Gandler, FuboTV’s co-founder and CEO. “We want to be able to make sure we tap into that part of the spectrum in terms of entry-level video.”

To be clear, this isn’t going to be ESPN. At first, Fubo Sports Network is going to have a limited slate of mostly recycled content. Gandler said it might include live-streaming rights for some niche-oriented sports.

Initially, Fubo Sports Network will be available on Xumo, a free, ad-supported service available in 35 million U.S. households via smart TVs, mobile, web, and streaming set-top boxes. The network also will be available on FuboTV’s base subscription package. Gandler hopes to expand distribution with additional partners to reach up to 50 million homes by August.

For the June 27 launch, existing FuboTV Network content will migrate to Fubo Sports Network, including “The Football Report” covering soccer and re-airings of other features.

Original studio shows are slated to debut this August, along with sports-themed movies. Original programming is scheduled to include a weekly sports talk show; a strip of original video podcasts; and content from partners including simulcasts of their produced shows and sports highlights.

Eventually, Gandler envisions Fubo Sports Network to be a full 24-hour service, modeled on the way Cheddar (acquired this spring by cable operator Altice USA) stepped up from broadcasting live financial news a few hours daily to becoming (more or less) a fully scheduled network. “It’s a more edgy version of a sports network,” said Gandler.

The company has two goals for Fubo Sports Network. First, it wants to use the free streaming service to drive brand awareness — and, ideally, have cord-nevers subscribe to one of its premium pay-TV bundles. The company also is hoping to generate $5 million in off-platform incremental ad revenue in the first year, according to Gandler.

FuboTV started planning for the free, ad-supported network launch three months ago, and is nearing a deal to hire someone to manage Fubo Sports Network as a full-time GM. The streaming network’s ad load will be 5-6 minutes per hour (half of broadcast TV) and will leverage FuboTV’s server-side ad insertion technology that it uses for inventory on networks on the subscription-TV service.

FuboTV’s bid to develop a new revenue stream from free, ad-supported video comes after the company earlier this spring hiked the subscription price of its base internet TV package of 90-plus channels by 22%, to $54.99 per month (up $10 from the previous $44.99). Fubo faces a slew of competitors in the over-the-top TV segment, including Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu and PlayStation Vue. FuboTV declined to provide a current subscriber count; it last said it had nearly 250,000 paying users as of the end of September 2018.

New York-based FuboTV’s owners include Disney (through its acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets), Sky (now owned by Comcast) and AMC Networks.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content