Iger’s ‘Spulu’ Starter Marriage

bob iger
This unnamed service may be ostensibly geared towards the never-cord consumer or the post-cord consumer or the cable-frustrated consumer, but it’s really an R&D lab for its proprietors, especially Bob Iger. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
Julia Alexander
February 13, 2024

One week ago, frenemies Bob Iger, David Zaslav and Lachlan Murdoch dropped a post-market-hours bomb in the form of their new partnership—a sports streamer that combined collective rights to games from all the major leagues, including the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB. The news seemed suspiciously timed to front-run Disney and Fox earnings calls, but everything else was utterly mysterious: what was this thing called, what would it cost, and who was really in charge? And, as I noted last week, which company was creating the underlying technology?

My Puck partner John Ourand also reported that not only were the leagues and rival broadcasters caught off guard, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell even had his lawyers pull up the contracts. (It’s all kosher.) Ourand also noted that ESPN C.E.O. Jimmy Pitaro, one of the more likable executives in the business, didn’t give Goodell a heads up until mere hours before the announcement. (Yes, yes, the NDA, but still…)