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fuboTV’s Big Gamble: Features First, Channels Second

Ben Bowman

Can fuboTV become the dominant live streaming service for sports fans without many of the channels sports fans love? That’s CEO David Gandler’s bet.

As part of the RBC Global Technology, Internet, Media, and Telecom Conference, Gandler touted the fuboTV strategy as:

  1. Brand positioning
  2. Content portfolio
  3. Product features

While that sounds like a solid plan, it’s that second point where fuboTV’s ambitions are facing their biggest obstacle. And without a superior content offering, all the brand positioning and product features won’t matter to die-hard sports fans.

Right now, fuboTV has massive gaps for NBA, MLB, and NHL fans. Basketball fans need TNT, MLB fans need TBS, and the majority of NHL action is now exclusively on TNT and ESPN+.

Gandler defended fuboTV’s abandonment of the Turner networks, saying, “You know, we’re the first company to ever drop a major partner like Turner. I think the consensus was, ‘these guys are in trouble.’ The reality is, our data allows us to make decisions based on what we’re seeing. And you saw in 2021 continued improvement across all KPIs. So we feel very comfortable with our current portfolio.”

Bally Sports Networks are also absent on the platform, only to be found on DIRECTV STREAM. While fuboTV is a good option if you want to watch AltitudeAT&T SportsNet PittsburghAT&T SportsNet Rocky MountainAT&T SportsNet SouthwestMarquee Sports NetworkMSGMSG SportsnetNBC Sports Bay AreaNBC Sports BostonNBC Sports CaliforniaNBC Sports ChicagoNBC Sports NorthwestNBC Sports PhiladelphiaNBC Sports Philadelphia+NBC Sports WashingtonNBC Sports Washington+NESNRoot Sports Northwest 、と SportsNet NY, it will miss the mark if you need another RSN.

Gandler spoke glowingly about the allure of one of TV’s first service-specific sports content offerings: DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket. “(DirecTV) had the same packages as everybody else, other than Sunday Ticket,” Gandler said. “And Sunday ticket was about 2 million customers. But yet sports fans prefer DirecTV. So the way I look at fubo is a very similar way.”

If fuboTV made a play for Sunday Ticket streaming rights, that would be a true differentiator, but the company doesn’t have the same bankroll of Disney or Amazon, two of the players rumored to be in play when that NFL package goes up for bid.

To Gandler’s point, fuboTV has access to LaLiga, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, MLS, Ligue 1, Liga MX, Serie A. There’s true value for soccer fans. No such luck for hockey, basketball, or baseball fans. The NFL offerings on fuboTV are the same as most other vMVPDs.

Absent a non-soccer content differentiator, fuboTV is doubling down on the third aspect of Gandler’s strategy: features. “We have calendar views, multi-view, perpetual DVR so you can save your favorite sports moments, we’ve added predictive games, fan view, and now we’re adding in a sportsbook,” Gandler said.

Right now, only fuboTV subscribers in Iowa have access to the sportsbook product, but Pennsylvania, Indiana, New Jersey, and Arizona are up next. Gandler says fuboTV has a “watch and bet” mindset while gambling companies are focused more on “bet and watch.” The company believes that will make it a winner for fans who want to wager.

If you compare Gandler’s 3-point strategy with what fuboTV offers, it certainly seems like the service is focused on the features as their primary benefit right now. As for when missing channels might return? It seems Gandler is betting that the eventual scale of fuboTV will make the service indispensable for linear providers. “At a million subscribers now become an important partner for everybody. There is no scenario where we’re not important to somebody.”

DTV STREAM fuboTV Hulu Philo Sling TV YouTube
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$69.99 $69.99 $69.99 $25 $40 $40 $64.99
Altitude ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
AT&T SportsNet Southwest ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
Bally Sports Arizona ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Carolinas ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Detroit ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Florida ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Great Lakes ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Indiana ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Kansas City ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Midwest ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports New Orleans ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports North ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Ohio ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Oklahoma ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports San Diego ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports SoCal ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports South ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Southeast ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Southwest ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Sun ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports Tennessee ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Bally Sports West ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Longhorn Network - - - - ^ $11 - -
Marquee Sports Network ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
MASN ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
MASN2 ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
MSG ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
MSG+ ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
NBC Sports Bay Area ≥ $89.99 - - -
NBC Sports Boston ≥ $89.99 - - -
NBC Sports California ≥ $89.99 - - -
NBC Sports Chicago ≥ $89.99 - - -
NBC Sports Northwest - - - -
NBC Sports Philadelphia - - - -
NBC Sports Philadelphia+ - - - -
NBC Sports Washington ≥ $89.99 - - -
NBC Sports Washington+ - - - - -
NESN ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
Root Sports Northwest ≥ $89.99 - - - - -
Spectrum SportsNet ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
Spectrum SportsNet LA ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
SportsNet NY ≥ $89.99 - - -
SportsTime Ohio ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -
TBS - -
TNT - -
YES Network ≥ $89.99 - - - - - -

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