FuboTV, best known for its subscription-based, sports-heavy live and on-demand streaming video service, is soft-launching a free streaming sports network for U.S. viewers on June 27, something the company had previously hinted it would do. Called simply Fubo Sports Network, the network will be ad-supported and feature a mix of live event coverage, news, and some of the first original content created by FuboTV, according to a report by Variety.
“There’s an opportunity to cater to the demand for free content,” David Gandler, FuboTV’s co-founder and CEO told Variety. “We want to be able to make sure we tap into that part of the spectrum in terms of entry-level video.”
As a network, not a service, Fubo Sports Network will initially be made available via Xumo, a free, ad-supported service available in 35 million U.S. households via smart TVs, mobile, web, and streaming set-top boxes. Xumo is the company that powers LG’s Channel Plus service on its WebOS-based smart TVs. The network will also be available on FuboTV’s base package.
At launch, the plan is to take existing FuboTV Network content and port it to the Fubo Sports Network, including shows like The Football Report.
The new, original programs will launch in August, along with sports-themed movies. A weekly sports talk show and simulcasts of partner-produced shows and sports highlights are expected to be a part of the new content mix.
The long-term vision is to grow Fubo Sports Network into a full 24-hour service using a similar trajectory to Cheddar as it evolves. The company aims to raise awareness of its brand, thus hopefully driving increased paid subscriptions to its flagship service, but it also sees potential revenue from ad-sales: Up to $5 million in the first year, according to Gandler.
FuboTV’s existing subscription service is one of the few that has been granted placement with the Apple TV app, the streaming video environment that is about to expand beyond the company’s Apple TV set-top boxes, to smart TVs and competing streaming devices like Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV. FuboTV recently hiked its subscription rates for both its standard and extra packages, but it has also been rapidly adding non-sports content to round out its offerings, including the addition of Viacom channels, and an expansion of its relationship with Discovery.
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