Pan-European broadcaster Sky is continuing its strategy of backing US technology and OTT players with a $6 million (€5.47m) investment in fuboTV, a US-based video streaming service that provides subscribers with a premium, over-the-top bundle of sports TV channels. This is part of fuboTV’s Series B round of funding, which has also seen Sky’s main shareholder 21st Century Fox make a similar investment.
Launched in January 2015, fuboTV has quickly become the second-largest aggregator and distributor of linear OTT sports content in the US, growing to more than 40,000 subscribers to date. The service provides access to video content in English, Spanish and Portuguese via a range of platforms, including via www.fubo.tv as well as Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV and via iOS and Android devices.
The company has secured US distribution deals with TV channels that hold rights to major worldwide sporting events, including live football matches from more than half of the leading international leagues and tournaments. This includes Univision Networks, beIN SPORTS, GolTV and Benfica TV.
This partnership follows recent Sky investments in sports marketing company InCrowd Sports, programmatic advertising company DataXu and OTT video company TV4 Entertainment. Sky has previously invested in a number of other pioneering US technology companies, including the leading online sports network Whistle Sports, IP streaming service provider Roku and cinematic virtual reality company Jaunt.
“We’re excited to be investing in fuboTV, at a time when our customers are looking to consume more and more content, whenever and wherever they are,” commented Emma Lloyd, Director of Corporate Development & Strategic Investments at Sky. “This investment will provide Sky with real insight, and we look forward to working with the fuboTV team as they continue to explore new opportunities for growth.”
fuboTV raised $15 million in its Series B funding, led by investments from Sky and 21st Century Fox (a 39.14 per cent shareholder in Sky).The round will be used to grow the company’s expanding sports-first streaming video offering, develop new features and market the service to increase its subscriber base. As a result of the equity agreements, both Sky and 21st Century Fox will take board positions. Neither 21st Century Fox nor Sky are currently licensing content to fuboTV, but both companies intend to work closely with fuboTV as it continues to grow.
Prior to fuboTV, the company’s founders David Gandler (CEO), Sung Ho Choi (CTO) and Alberto Horihuela (CMO) built a strong track record in the entertainment and digital media industries, most recently as executives at OTT video company DramaFever – which is being acquired by Warner Bros.
“The support from two of the most prominent media companies in the world strongly positions fuboTV to meet the demands of the quickly evolving sports rights ecosystem,” said Gandler. “Investment from 21st Century Fox, Sky and the prominent individuals and organisations part of this Series B round demonstrates our potential to become leaders among linear OTT services.”
Sky and 21st Century Fox each invested $6 million of the total $15 million Series B round, which also includes investments from DCM Ventures, Luminari Capital, LionTree Partners, Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (Managing Partner at Accretive LLC and former CEO and Chairman of Warner Music Group), Chris Silbermann (founding partner, ICM Partners) and David Stern (former NBA commissioner and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame).