Earlier this year, Disney announced it was teaming up with FOX and Warner Brothers Discovery to create a brand-new streaming service called “Venu Sports.” This service will bring together all of the collective companies’ portfolios of sports networks and ESPN+, including content from all the major professional sports leagues and college sports.

Venu Sports will aggregate content to offer fans an extensive, dynamic lineup of sports content to serve sports fans, particularly those outside of the traditional pay TV bundle. It will offer a wide selection of content including ESPN, TNT Sports and FOX Sports.

This new platform will launch in the fall of 2024 and will be available directly to consumers via a new app. Subscribers will also be able to bundle the product, including with Disney+, Hulu, or Max.

However, the launch of the new service is subject to regulatory approval and the finalization of definitive agreements among the parties.   And as you might expect, the impending launch of this new streaming platform has caused some concern from other companies like Fubo TV and the US government.

Fubo TV is also trying to block the launch of Venu Sports, with a preliminary injunction hearing currently being set for August 7th 2024. Fubo TV feels that the bundle isn’t fair to other competitors, who have been forced to bundle together unrelated channels for years and were denied being able to offer a similar offering. Other companies, including Dish TV, Direct TV and Newsmax, have also joined in to request that Congress look into the launch of Venu Sports.

Back in April, Congressmen Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro sent a letter to Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery asking for more information to be sent to the Department of Justice.

“As programmers, your companies exert tremendous influence over pricing across the live sports TV ecosystem. As a result, the Joint Venture raises questions about how this new offering would affect access, competition and choice in the sports streaming market. Without more complete information about the pricing, intent and organization of this new venture, we are concerned that this consolidation will result in higher prices for consumers and less fair licensing terms for upstream sports leagues and downstream video distributors.”

According to the Wrap, last week, Congressmen Jerry Nadler and Joaquin Castro met with representatives from Disney, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery to discuss the launch of Venu Sports. However, they’ve requested that the three companies come back to them for more questioning after their initial meeting failed to satisfy their concerns, leaving the Congressmen with more questions and concerns.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in April that they are proceeding “as though this is going to clear” government scrutiny, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the launch of Venu Sports pushed back. Disney is also continuing with its plans to launch an ESPN hub on Disney+ later this year and will launch a full direct-to-consumer version of ESPN next summer, which will also be available within Disney+.

Roger’s Take: I doubt that Venu Sports will actually launch this summer, especially given the pressure of getting it ready for the NFL and College Football seasons.   The new streaming service also feels like a last-ditch effort to cling onto the traditional sports cable bundle, since this won’t be cheap, but with other NFL games still airing on Paramount+, Peacock, Amazon and Netflix, sports fans still aren’t going to get full access to everything regardless of if Venu Sports exists.

What do you think of the launch of Venu Sports?  Let me know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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