June 07, 2024

Castro, Nadler Push Disney, Fox, WBD for Answers on Transparency and Competition Concerns with Proposed Sports Streaming Venture

WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-12), the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the chief executive officers of The Walt Disney Company, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery to express renewed concerns that a proposed joint sports streaming venture among the three companies could reduce competition and harm consumers and to request further information to ensure appropriate government oversight of the venture. The letter follows a meeting in late May between the offices of the lawmakers and representatives for the joint venture partners that failed to satisfy concerns previously expressed by the lawmakers.

“Although we appreciate your prompt reply and willingness to meet with our staff, your responses so far are insufficient,” the lawmakers wrote. “We write to renew our request for information about your joint venture. Overall, we still have not received answers about the firewalls your companies may implement to prevent collusion; the precautions you may take to ensure consumer privacy; or the methods you may use to determine pricing of the new service. Some of the vague assurances you have provided strike us as contradictory. For example, we find it difficult to understand how your companies can both promise not to share competitively sensitive information and also evaluate the success of the joint venture on a company-by company basis. Your repeated assertion that the details of the joint venture have not yet been finalized is also hard to believe, given that the joint venture is projected to roll out in mere months.”

“Your companies exert unmatched control over the entire sports media ecosystem,” the lawmakers concluded. “Without care, your joint venture has the potential to reshape this already-concentrated space…We urge your companies to provide Congress and the public with more information to allow the full impact of the proposed streaming service to be evaluated."

The companies have until June 21 to respond via email and are instructed to copy the Department of Justice in their reply.

The full letter, which includes an enclosure with the response that the joint venture partners provided to lawmakers in response to their initial request, can be found here.