US-based sports focused streaming services FloSports and FuboTV have revealed the means by which they are attempting to adapt their schedules amid Covid-19, adding they are confident their business models are resilient enough to accommodate the impact of the outbreak.
FloSports’ most significant rights deal of late came last month as horse racing media-rights agency HBA Media agreed to a short-term deal with the company to develop horse racing coverage on the provider’s over-the-top video platforms.
Its next major event was due to be Milan-San Remo. The annual road cycling showpiece, one of the five “Monuments” of the sport, was due to take place on Saturday only to be postponed due to the heavy impact of Covid-19 in Italy.
Instead, FloSports has teamed up with technology company Zwift to rebroadcast last year’s race on its FloBikes OTT channel. Subscribers will be able to take in coverage through a virtual ride watch party, allowing them to workout together alongside the race.
“It’s a way to bring people together around a sporting event that was cancelled in the best way we can,” Amy Loesch, senior vice-president of marketing at FloSports, told the Front Office Sports website. “We’re looking at different ways like that to continue to bring new content to our audiences.”
Loesch added that with a dearth of live content, focus will now switch towards producing original programming. She said subscriber numbers have remained steady during the outbreak, stating there was an 11 per cent increase in total minutes watched last week across all of its programming.
“The majority of our subscribers are yearly,” Loesch said. “While, of course, we’re worried about churn as any business would be, it’s not something we’re seeing.”
Meanwhile, fuboTV has been left with the Süper Lig, the top tier of Turkish club football, as one of its few remaining live sports assets. Earlier this month, fuboTV added NHL Network, MLB Network, and MLB Strike Zone to its offering. But it is now pivoting towards news and entertainment programming.
“Obviously, we’ll reduce marketing spend just given the lack of new content on the sports and entertainment side, as I think even Hollywood has gone on hiatus at this point,” fuboTV chief executive David Gandler said. “Coronavirus has affected all of society and every genre. So it’s something we all have to be patient with and, eventually, it will pass.”