Fubo, DISH Networks, DIRECTV, Newsmax, Consumer Advocacy Groups Urge Congressional Hearing on Sports Streaming JV Impact for Consumers

May 2, 2024

Hon. Maria Cantwell, Chair
Hon. Ted Cruz, Ranking Member Senate
Commerce Committee

Hon. Dick Durbin, Chair
Hon. Lindsey Graham,
Ranking Member Senate
Judiciary Committee

Hon. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Chair Hon.
Frank Pallone, Ranking Member House Energy
& Commerce Committee

Hon. Jim Jordan, Chair
Hon. Jerry Nadler, Ranking
Member House Judiciary

Dear Chairs & Ranking Members:

     We are writing to urge your Committees to hold hearings on the future of competition in pay-TV. Recent developments in the pay-TV market – including the programming giants’ new joint venture (“JV”), a streaming TV service that would control 80% of national live sports broadcasts1  – raise serious competition concerns that call for Congress’s immediate oversight.

     The JV between Disney, Fox, and Warner is expected to launch this fall, in time for the next NFL and college football seasons. In addition to controlling 80% of all national live sports broadcasts, the JV will control approximately 55% of all live sports (regional and national).2 We cannot think of any scenario in the history of the United States where consumer interests have been served when such an important industry – here, access to live sports – is effectively controlled by three programming giants which decided to combine forces instead of competing against each other.

     Worse yet, these same programming giants enforce anticompetitive and inflationary contract restrictions on distributors that will insulate the JV’s streaming service from head-to-head competition because these contract restrictions prohibit competing distributors from offering consumers their own “skinny,” live sports bundle. However one measures it, the JV will eventually dominate the distribution market for live sports and will drive out competition, leaving consumers captive to the JV for live sports – unless Congress and regulators intervene.

     When one vertically integrated company has the power and incentive to drive out its competitors – as this JV will – policymakers have previously stepped in to protect competition and consumers. For example, in the 1992 Cable Act, Congress enacted new program access rules that prevented vertically integrated cable operators from discriminating against new entrants in the pay-TV business, namely the then-nascent satellite TV providers trying to compete with cable.

     We are at the same inflection point now. The JV partners demand that their competitors offer “big fat bundles” of programming (as described by Disney’s CEO3) that include many unwanted but expensive channels, while their own JV service offers a much skinnier package consisting only of “must have” sports channels. Americans love their live sports and entertainment, and they expect Congress to ensure competition and choice in accessing these shows. We thus urge you and your colleagues to hold hearings as soon as possible on the future of pay TV.


FuboTV Inc.


American Economic Liberties Project

Open Markets Institute

DISH Network

Newsmax, Inc.

Sports Fan Coalition

Electronic Frontier Foundation

1See indiewire (2/24/2024)

2See Wall Street Journal (2/24/2024)

3See Sportico (2/7/2024)