FuboTV dabbles in AVOD with launch of free, ad-supported sports channel

Fubo Sports Network is getting a soft launch starting today. (Fubo)

Virtual MVPD FuboTV, which charges $55 per month for package of more than 90 live streaming channels, is jumping into the free, ad-supported space with the launch of Fubo Sports Network.

The network – which will offer event coverage, news, and exclusive programming for U.S. viewers – is getting a soft launch starting today. The channel will be available on ad-supported streaming service Xumo and on FuboTV’s base package.

A spokesperson for Fubo said that in the coming weeks Fubo Sports Network will launch on Channel Plus (Xumo’s service for LG Smart TVs). In July Fubo Sports Network launches on additional distribution partners, and in August the channel will launch original programming. More distribution deals and acquired content will follow from there.

David Gandler, FuboTV’s co-founder and CEO, told Variety that his company is hoping to expand the network’s reach to 50 million homes by August.

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Fubo Sports Network will feature ad loads of around five to six minutes per hour, and the service will use the same server-side ad insertion technology that Fubo built for inventory on its streaming TV service.

Fubo is hoping to eventually turn Fubo Sports Network into a 24-hour network, and generate $5 million in ad revenue in the first year. Fubo’s competition in the free streaming sports network space includes CBS Sports HQ, as well as several niche sports networks like Stadium on ad-supported multichannel services like Xumo, Tubi and the Roku Channel.

The bid to grow revenues via free AVOD for Fubo comes along shortly after the company raised the cost of its FuboTV base package by $10 per month. Many of FuboTV’s competitors including Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and DirecTV Now have also raised their prices in recent months.