Court sets date for prelim hearing in Fubo’s case against ‘Spulu’

A preliminary injunction hearing in Fubo’s antitrust lawsuit against the FoxDisneyWarner Bros. Discovery sports streamer has been scheduled for Aug. 7, 2024.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has also slotted Aug. 8, 2024, and Aug. 9, 2024, as additional days for the hearing should it be needed.

Fubo filed suit against the yet-to-be-named streamer, which is sometimes referred to as “Spulu,” in February 2024, accusing the trio of leveraging their “iron grip” on sports broadcasting to realize billions of dollars in “supra-competitive profits.”

Fubo also noted that the broadcast giants have allegedly used their power to force it to carry their channels on its streaming TV service while also charging it more to carry them.

The streaming service is expected to launch in the fall of 2024.

The court also outlined a schedule of deadlines for attorneys from both sides. 

Final witness and exhibit lists are required by July 29, 2024, and Fubo itself has until Aug. 1, 2024, to file its reply to back up its request for the preliminary injunction. 

This schedule has been set, at least in part, to be before the potential launch date of “Spulu.”

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If the judge grants Fubo’s request for injunction after the August hearing, the service would presumably not be able to launch until its legal options played out in court or if it could reach a settlement with Fubo. 

If an injunction is denied, the case would then continue through the legal system, including potentially leading to a trial, though it’s not clear how long pre-trial procedures would take. 

The streamer venture is also facing scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ has not taken any formal legal action against the proposed service yet and, if it does, those legal proceedings would be separate from Fubo’s suit. 

“Spulu” is expected to bundle ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNews, SECN, ACCN, ABC, Fox, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS and truTV into a single, standalone streaming-only offering.

A name and pricing has not been determined, though estimates have ranged from $40 to $50 per month or perhaps even higher. 

Partner Fox previously stated that it sees around 5 million signing up for the service by 2029, though it’s not clear how that number was calculated and other partners haven’t been as vocal about their projections.

ESPN, which is part of Disney, is also planning to launch a standalone streaming offering for only its linear feeds in 2025. Its agreement with WBD and Fox specifically allows for this provision.