$35 a month, to start.
Want to buy pay TV on the web? Used to be impossible, but now it’s easy.
Want to buy a pay TV service that’s focused on live sports? Now you can do that, too: FuboTV, a startup that launched with a focus on streaming soccer games, is rolling out a subscription service that includes a range of live sports, including pro football, basketball and baseball games.
Fubo, which has already signed up close to 100,000 subscribers for a $10-a-month service, says a beta version of its new service will launch in the next few weeks, at a starting price of $35 a month. That price will likely creep up above $40 a month, according to people familiar with the company.
It will give customers access to a range of sports channels, including national and regional channels run by Fox and NBCUniversal, as well as Fox and NBC’s broadcast networks, which have big-ticket sports events. It also features a modest selection of general interest programming including A&E, Bravo and the Weather Channel.
This won’t satisfy every craving a sports fan has: Notable omissions, for now, are Disney’s ESPN, which dominates the live sports market, as well as Time Warner’s Turner, which has rights to some pro basketball and baseball games, as well as the March Madness college basketball tournament. The package is also missing CBS, which has a significant chunk of NFL games and other pro sports.
It’s still an ambitious effort for a two-year-old company, which to date has raised around $20 million. It’s going up against online TV packages sponsored by companies with very deep pockets — Dish Network has Sling, AT&T has DirecTV Now, and Sony has Vue — with more to come — next year Hulu, owned by Disney, Fox and NBC will launch a live TV service, and Google is in talks to do the same.
Fubo does have some help from a big player: 21st Century Fox and its Sky, its corporate cousin, each chipped in $6 million earlier this year.
Still, the fact that a small company can get into this market shows you just how quickly the TV landscape has changed: A couple of years ago, it was literally impossible to buy a live, digital-only TV service; now you can pick and choose the kind of package you want.
It’s also worth noting that some things about the market haven’t changed: TV programmers still want people to buy a bundle of their networks, instead of picking and choosing individual channels.
NBCUniversal, for instance, isn’t just letting Fubo pick up its broadcast network and its sports channels — it’s also requiring the service to carry all of its cable networks, which explains why Fubo subscribers will be getting odd channels like Oxygen. Same goes for Fox, whose bundle includes oddities like the Fox Business Channel.
* NBCUniversal is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns this site.