The fact that sports-focused live TV streaming service fuboTV ended its broadcast deal with the Turner cable networks in 2020 was a pain point for many fans who enjoy watching the NBA on TNT, Major League Baseball on TBS, and even the NCAA would men’s basketball tournament on TruTV. While Fubo’s co-founder and CEO David Gandler is keeping the door open for networks to return to his platform, it doesn’t appear to be in sight for the immediate future. However, it appears that fuboTV will be able to bring its subscribers some of TBS’s postseason baseball anyway.
When Major League Baseball announced an expanded playoff format for the 2022 season as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, it meant that while ESPN would be the home of all postseason wild card games, TBS would carry the American League Divisional and Championship Series. while FOX would receive the National League series along with the World Series. From Fubo’s perspective, that would mean that baseball fans would not be able to stream the ALDS and ALCS since TBS is not part of the streamer’s lineup.
However, MLB Network has announced that it will be broadcasting this postseason’s entire ALDS and ALCS exclusively in Spanish beginning October 11. Unlike TBS, MLB’s cable channel is available on fuboTV, which at least gives fans a way to watch the games.
“We are excited for the opportunity to produce postseason baseball exclusively in Spanish,” said Bill Morningstar, president of the MLB network. “This extensive content initiative aligns perfectly with Major League Baseball’s ongoing efforts to strengthen and expand its relationship with Latino baseball and sports fans. We will produce these games with the care, passion and quality that our viewers have come to expect over the years.”
Combined with games on ESPN and FOX, baseball fans who subscribe to Fubo can now stream the entire baseball postseason, albeit not all in English. That short bridge for customers to stream the typically Turner-based programs is nice, but as Warner Bros. Discovery — the parent company of TNT, TBS, and TruTV — continues to look for ways to get the most out of its cable assets, there was one Speculation that the company could turn either TNT or TBS into a sports channel after effectively ending scripted content on both channels. Whatever WBD decides with the channels, it will almost certainly focus on cost-cutting and revenue increases as new CEO David Zaslav seeks to cut the budget by $3 billion to help offset debt incurred when acquiring Warner Media were inherited by Discovery.
While the departure of Fubo’s Turner Networks originally stemmed from a disagreement over the carriage fees the streamer would have to pay cable providers to carry their programming, we’ve recently heard that WBD’s new leadership is open to the to reverse course on similar separations. After HBO Max left the Prime Video Channels platform in June 2021, it saw a drop of 5 million subscribers, but the previous regime felt the dip in subscribers was worth it to retain full control over user data and subscription fees.
However, reports indicate that WBD is open to the streamer returning to the distribution center simply because it allows the company to further monetize its service. While there have been no reports of Fubo and WBD returning to the negotiating table, given Gandler’s history of teasing a potential return and Zaslav’s need to generate additional revenue, it wouldn’t be ruled out that the two sides would return sometime in the future together; For sports fans, it would ideally happen before the NBA season starts this fall, or at least in time for March Madness next spring.