In a recent wave of scrutiny, Disney’s ambitious sports-streaming venture with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) under the banner “Venu Sports” has caught the attention of U.S. Representatives. The proposed alliance, set to debut in fall 2024, has sparked concerns about anti-competitive practices, prompting questions from Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D.-NY) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D.-Texas).

Addressed to the CEOs Bob Iger (Disney), Lachlan Murdoch (Fox), and David Zaslav (WBD), the letter highlights potential issues surrounding competition, pricing, and consumer access. “Your companies exert a tremendous influence over pricing across the live sports TV ecosystem,” the letter states, questioning whether this venture could lead to increased costs for consumers and unfair terms for sports leagues and video distributors.

Significantly, the venture plans to consolidate ESPN+, along with notable sports networks from Disney, Fox, and WBD, such as ABC, ESPN, Fox Sports, TNT, and others. This will offer a comprehensive sports-watching experience that has been informally christened “Spulu.” However, there’s no pricing information yet, which is a key focus of the inquiry.

Among the 19 questions Nadler and Castro posed were concerns about anti-competitive practices, provisions to avoid collusion, and the potential impact on licensing agreements. The deadline for the companies to respond is April 30, and the Justice Department is already gearing up for a review.

Fubo, an internet pay-TV provider, has even gone as far as filing a federal lawsuit over the venture, citing antitrust violations. Nonetheless, Disney CEO Bob Iger remains optimistic, stating in a CNBC appearance that they believe the joint venture will “clear regulatory scrutiny” and offer a sports fan’s delight.

What do you think about this new development in the sports streaming world? Could Venu Sports be a game-changer, or are the antitrust concerns valid? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to share this story!

[Sources: Variety, CNBC]