FuboTV bumps prices, adds local sports fee as RSNs join streaming TV lineup

FuboTV is raising prices for its live streaming TV plans by $5 per month, while also tacking on a regional sports fee that ranges from an extra $11 to $14 per month.

The move comes shortly after the virtual MVPD announced a carriage deal that will see Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs) join the service. In total, Fubo now offers more than 35 RSNs, including a deal last year with Altitude Sports that added live in-market games of the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche.

The price changes already took effect for new or returning subscribers and will increase for existing subscribers after February 6. Fubo’s base level Pro plan is increasing by $5 to now $74.99 per month, while its Elite base plan now costs $84.99 per month. Fubo also disclosed that while the price of its Ultimate plan isn’t changing (aside from the addition of a regional sports fee), it will no longer offer the tier to new or returning subscribers. The cost of the new regional sports fee depends on how many RSNs a customer receives in their area, with Fubo charging an additional $10.99 per month for those with access to one RSN or $13.99 per month for those receiving two or more. Customers are not able to opt-out of the regional sports fee as it’s not an add-on service and it will be automatically applied to bills.

A Fubo spokesperson confirmed to Fierce that nearly 100% of subscribers will receive at least one RSN in their plan, depending on location – meaning that essentially all customers get access to RSNs but also are subject to the regional sports fee.

In addition to adding Bally Sports RSNs in 19 markets, Fubo noted it expanded its base package by more than 70 channels in 2022.

With the addition of RSNs, Fubo’s price change does not necessarily come as a surprise, according to TVREV co-founder and analyst Alan Wolk.

What’s happening is similar to the long-held model of RSNs negotiating with traditional pay TV providers, with the former requiring pricey rates to carry live games of fan’s local sports teams, resulting in providers having to up the cost of pay TV packages to include the regional sports, Wolk explained. RSNs traditionally had the upperhand, he noted, as local sports have been a great way to bring subscribers into the pay TV system. He estimated traditional pay TV might increase their monthly price by something like $20-$25 to provide RSN coverage, so Fubo implementing a similar price increase is “par for the course,” Wolk told Fierce.  

That said RSNs have been one of the big ways to keep customers subscribing to pay TV and similarly are great draw to pull in subscribers for Fubo TV, according to Wolk, particularly as there are fewer options for consumers to access live local games of their favorite leagues, such as MLB, NHL and NBA.

As for Fubo, breaking out the additional cost of a regional sports fee is likely a way to avoid having to say plan prices are increasing by more than $5 per month. Even though its Elite plan is now inching near $100 month (if including the higher priced regional sports fee), Wolk thinks it’s probably still less than traditional to cable, which often has a lot of hidden fees such as cable boxes. In addition to no hidden fees with Fubo, subscribers to the vMVPD also get a better user experience, he said, alongside other benefits that come with streaming.

Overall Wolk thinks bringing RSNs into the fold is a good move for Fubo, which positions itself as a sports-first live TV service, as the analyst noted other vMVPDs have passed on RSNs.

“Hulu and YouTube did not pick up a lot of the RSNs as a way to keep pricing down” and that left DirecTV Now as one of the only other providers carrying many, he said. “I think Fubo doing that is a smart move in that you have a lot of people who want to move to a vMVPD but are worried [because] the main reason they have pay TV is to watch sports.”

Hardcore fans more willing to pay for RSNs

Another factor to consider is that a user who picks a TV package based on an RSN “is generally a more hardcore fan of a specific team,” Wolk pointed out, meaning a price bump might not deter them.

So for example, a Boston Celtics fan that only wants to watch Celtics games, versus a more casual viewer that might tune into ESPN just to watch a good basketball game, he said.

“The people who are fans of those specific teams will happily pay – given that tickets are over $100 – they’ll happily pay to watch all of those games,” he continued.

Wolk also noted that the leagues Bally Sports RSNs cover – NHL, MLB and NBA – have much longer seasons, with 80-100 or more games depending on the sport, compared to NFL with just 18 or so for specific teams.

Still some customers may be displeased at the price increases, which come shortly after Fubo dropped nine AMC Networks channels from its TV package at the end of the year. While Fubo has said its open to adding AMC Networks in the future, it currently has no plans to do so. In communicating to customers, Fubo said of dropping AMC that “Our mission has always been to offer a leading package of premium sports, news, and entertainment programming while balancing value and keeping your costs as low as possible.”


Wolk doesn’t think there will be that much upset, saying “if you’re subscribing to Fubo it’s probably about sports.” However, he could see customers start to do math in the face of losing AMC channels, alongside RSNs launching their own standalone streaming services, as to what they need to keep paying for on a monthly basis.

Still, “news and sports are the two things that people are like ‘oh that’s why I want to have a subscription because I won’t be able to watch it’,” he said, with Fubo still providing both, and specifically those local sports teams that RSNs deliver.

And the analyst sees Fubo as an interesting play in general. “They shouldn’t have succeeded, they’re an independent company up against competitors that are backed by much bigger companies and yet somehow they’ve hung on,” Wolk said.  In his view, part of that has been helped by a good vision of what the company wants and strong marketing with a sports angle.

Fubo in Q3 reported a record high for its North American subscriber tally, ending the period with 1.23 million paid subs in the region.

As Fubo looks to lead as a sports-first vMVPD, building out its lineup with otherwise hard to find sports can help solidify its position. During an investor conference last week CEO David Gandler pointed to the company’s base of sports fan as giving the company more pricing power.

Gandler said the subscriber base is “almost 100%” comprised of sports fans, and reels in viewers specifically looking for that type of content.

“If you think about other virtual MVPDs or other streaming services, there is a price ceiling because more than half of their customers are general entertainment consumers,” Gandler said. “The reason why people left cable was because they didn’t want to pay. They felt that sports was causing the increases and so they wanted to leave.”

Fubo has around 50,000 sporting events on its service and touts “the greatest number of local sports networks in the market.”