FuboTV Pivots To News And Entertainment Amid Live Sports Dearth

    • OTT Cable provider to rely on news and entertainment programming during long sports drought.
    • The company may also receive rebates from TV networks over canceled sporting events.

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What a difference one week has made for FuboTV.

As recently as March 9, the multi-channel OTT streaming service was live streaming games from across the NBA, NHL, and several soccer leagues from around the world.

That is until sports leagues across the globe began to cease play due to the Coronavirus last week.

By Saturday, FuboTV’s live sports offerings were all but down to Liga MX – Mexico’s top-flight soccer competition. A league fixture between C.D. Guadalajara and Monterrey Rayados was streamed on Univision-owned TUDN on FuboTV that night. Liga MX later suspended operations indefinitely the following day.

“We don’t know how long these suspensions are for,” David Gandler, CEO of FuboTV, said. “And remember – some countries are further ahead on the Coronavirus curve. But again, we don’t know where we are in Spain with LaLiga Santander or other leagues. So it’s just wait and see at the moment.”

FuboTV says subscribers have not decreased in the past week due to Coronavirus. In fact, viewership of news programming has grown sharply as more consumers stay home seeking updates, according to the company.

While the Turkish Süper Lig remains available to fans on FuboTV via Bein Sports, the company is banking on news and entertainment programming – in the form of late-night talk shows and reality TV – to see it through the Coronavirus pandemic. The company also has a library of 20,000 videos on-demand assets spanning multiple genres, as well as more than 100 different non-sports channels.

“Obviously, we’ll reduce marketing spend just given the lack of new content on the sports and entertainment side, as I think even Hollywood has gone on hiatus at this point,” Gandler said. “Coronavirus has affected all of society and every genre. So it’s something we all have to be patient with and, eventually, it will pass.”

READ MORE: Live Blog: Impact of Coronavirus on U.S. Sports

FuboTV hasn’t begun seeking rebates or future credits from distribution fees paid to network partners over unforeseen sports league cancellations. The company has also not heard of any discounts that will be provided to date, according to Gandler.

“I think, first of all, the channels have to figure out what they want to do with the leagues or primary stakeholders,” he said. “We’ll obviously have those conversations.”

Any savings earned by FuboTV are also expected to be passed down to the consumer.

“If anything does come down to our level, we’d be happy to share that with our customers.”