Did fuboTV Subscribers Get New Way to Watch TBS Postseason Baseball? Could Turner Networks Return to Streamer?
The fact that sports-focused live TV streaming service fuboTV ended its carriage agreement with the Turner cable networks in 2020 has been a pain point for many fans who would love to watch the NBA on TNT, Major League Baseball on TBS, and even the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on TruTV. Despite Fubo’s co-founder and CEO David Gandler keeping the door open for a potential return of the networks to his platform, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the immediate future. However, it does appear that fuboTV will be able to bring some of TBS’s postseason baseball to its subscribers anyway.
When Major League Baseball announced an expanded playoff format for the 2022 season as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, it meant that ESPN would be the home for all of the postseason’s Wild Card games, TBS would carry the American League Divisional and Championship Series, while FOX would get the National League series, along with the World Series. From a Fubo perspective, that would mean that baseball fans would be unable to stream the ALDS and ALCS because TBS is not part of the streamer’s lineup.
However, MLB Network has announced that it will exclusively air the entire ALDS and ALCS this postseason in Spanish, beginning on Oct. 11. Unlike TBS, MLB’s cable channel is available on fuboTV, giving fans at least some way to watch the games.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to produce Postseason baseball exclusively in Spanish,” MLB Network President Bill Morningstar said. “This extensive content initiative perfectly aligns with Major League Baseball’s ongoing effort to strengthen and expand its relationship with Latino baseball and sports fans. We will produce these games with care, passion and in a high-quality way that our viewers have come to expect over the years.”
Combined with the games on ESPN and FOX, Fubo-subscribing baseball fans are now able to stream the entirety of the baseball postseason, albeit not all in English. This brief bridge for customers to stream the normally Turner-based programming is nice, but as Warner Bros. Discovery — TNT, TBS, and TruTV’s parent company — continues to look for ways to make the most out of its cable assets, there has been speculation that after effectively ending scripted content on both channels, the company could turn either TNT or TBS into a sports-focused channel. Whatever WBD decides to do with the channels, it is almost certainly going to be focused on cutting costs and increasing revenue as new CEO David Zaslav is looking to trim $3 billion from the budget in order to make up for debts inherited when Discovery acquired Warner Media.
While the Turner networks’ departure from Fubo originally had to do with a disagreement over carriage fees that the streamer would need to pay the cablers in order to carry their programming, we have recently heard that WBD’s new leadership is open to reversing course on similar breakups. After HBO Max left the Prime Video Channels platform in June 2021, it saw a decline of 5 million subscribers, but the previous regime thought the customer dip was worth it in order to retain full control over user data and subscription fees.
However, reports now indicate that WBD is open to the streamer returning to the distribution hub, simply because it allows the company to further monetize its service. While there have been no reports about Fubo and WBD coming back to the negotiating table, given Gandler’s history of teasing a potential return and Zaslav’s need to generate additional revenue, it would not be out of the realm of possibility to see the two sides come back together at some point in the future; for sports fans, it ideally would happen before the start of the NBA season this fall, or at least in time for March Madness next spring.
fuboTV is a live TV streaming service with about 90 channels for US$ 69.99/month. This plan includes local channels, 27 of the top 35 cable channels, and regional sports networks (RSNs).
The streaming service does not carry channels from WarnerMedia-owned (CNN, TBS, and TNT) and those from A+E (A&E, History Channel, and Lifetime).
fuboTV also includes MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, NFL RedZone , NHL Network, and beIN Sports (which is not available on most services). You can add Fox Soccer Plus as part of the International Sports Plus add-on for US$ 6/month.