Fubo bolsters regional sports network lineup with MASN

As sports streaming competition continues to heat up, Fubo is expanding its regional sports network lineup with the addition of Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).

The sports-focused virtual MVPD announced a carriage deal Tuesday with MASN that brings coverage of MLB games from the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals to local fans across a seven-state region. MASN will be available ahead of MLB Opening Day, which is March 28, streaming the RSN’s coverage of every game of the Orioles and Nationals, pre- and postgame shows, to local fans from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Charlotte, North Carolina. It will also stream NCAA Division I men’s and women’s sports, for a total of more than 500 live events annually.

The deal expands Fubo’s base package RSN count to more than 35. With an expanding RSN lineup, Fubo last year implemented a monthly regional sports network fee, which is now either $12 or $15 (depending on how many RSNs a subscriber has access to) after a recent price hike, on top of its monthly streaming TV subscription price.

“Fubo is proud to be the home for local sports and the addition of MASN will bring Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals fans even more access to their favorite teams for the 2024 MLB season,” said Todd Mathers, senior vice president, content strategy and acquisition, Fubo. “We look forward to expanding baseball coverage across the mid-Atlantic region with Fubo’s leading MLB offering.”

In the announcement Fubo touted its other MLB coverage, including MLB.TV, MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, along with additional RSNs, local broadcast networks and national sports networks ESPN and FS1. Overall, the vMVPD’s lineup includes more than 55,000 live sporting events a year.

“MASN is excited to partner with Fubo and provide Orioles and Nationals fans with an exciting new option to connect with their favorite teams throughout our seven-state television territory,” said John McGuinness, SVP at MASN, in a statement. “Fubo has become a leading sports media platform and this new partnership will deliver O’s and Nats baseball to a significant new audience.”

Fubo has long positioned itself as a sports-first streaming service that attracts subscribers with sports and keeps them around with a lineup of entertainment and news programming. In what’s become a very fragmented TV viewing ecosystem across different apps, networks and services - particularly for sports - Fubo aims to be an aggregator where viewers can find a bundled package of their favorite teams' games and sports events, alongside general entertainment within a single, personalized app experience that has features like 4K and multi-view.

However, the latest addition comes as Fubo faces potential new competition from a forthcoming sports streaming app under a joint venture formed this year by Disney’s ESPN, Fox, and Warner Bros. Discovery, which plans to combine the entities sports assets in a single direct-to-consumer streaming product.

Some analysts have said the JV poses a threat to Fubo’s competitive advantage and Fubo itself moved to take legal action. In Feburary the vMVPD filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Disney, Fox and WBD, equating them to a “sports cartel” and accusing the defendants of a years-long campaign of anticompetitive practices. The lawsuit seeks to require restrictions on the JV, such as economic parity of licensing terms, and “substantial damages” from the defendants in an unspecified amount.

On Fubo’s Q4 earnings call earlier this month, CEO David Gandler cited a “duel to the death” in terms of its willingness to pursue the legal fight. He asserted the JV effort is “just the latest example of the sports cartel’s attempt to block and steal Fubo’s vision of what a sports streaming bundle should look like, resulting in billions of dollars of damages to our business.”

“We consider the defendants’ pernicious contractual terms and other anticompetitive practices borderline racketeering,” Gandler said.

Fubo in its most recent financial quarter reported both revenue growth and subscriber gains, ending 2023 with 1.62 million North American subscribers.