FloSports, the parent company of FloBikes, a live streaming service that airs races such as the UCI World Championships, Tour de France and cyclocross World Cup races, settled a class action lawsuit for $2.625 million in recent weeks, the latest over opaque automatic subscription renewals. Subscribers have until January 25, 2024 to file claims or exclude themselves from the settlement.
It’s the second class action suit to hit the broadcaster. FloSports settled a separate suit in July for $2.625 million for violations of the Video Privacy Protection Act after the company used Facebook pixels to track users’ video views.
The hit to FloSports paints another dark picture for cycling’s major streaming platforms after the news that GCN+, a European competitor, announced this week it is closing down its live streaming service effective December 19.
FloSports’ latest class action suit stems from a suit brought by FloGrapping customer Lucas Young of Sonoma, California. Young alleged FloSports violated California’s Automatic Renewal Law (ARL) by charging customers “absent their consent under the ARL, absent the requisite disclosures under the ARL, and in reliance on consumer confusion and inertia to retain customers, combat consumer churn, and bolster its revenues,” according to court documents.
The complaint included FloBikes along with the company’s other channels: FloBowling, FloCheer, FloComba, FloDance, FloElite, FloFC, FloFootball, FloGrappling, FloGymnastics, FloHockey, FloHoops, FloLive, FloMarching, FloRacing, FloRodeo, FloRugby, FloSoftball, FloSwimming, FloTrack, FloVoice, FloVolleyball, FloWrestling, and Varsity. The settlement includes renewals from August 29, 2018 through June 15, 2023 from subscribers using addresses in California, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Illinois, Washington D.C., North Dakota, Virginia, Hawaii and Vermont.
The complaint used FloBikes’ 2021 Tour De France cycling broadcast figures to support its argument that FloSports grew its audience base through “aggressive, and deceptive, marketing tactics” including so-called “dark patterns” (tricks used in websites and apps that make you do things that you didn’t mean to, like buying or signing up for something).
FloSports denied all allegations of wrongdoing and agreed to settle “to avoid the uncertainties and expenses associated with ongoing litigation”.
The settlement’s final hearing is set for February 29, 2024, after which the settlement will be distributed in either a $30 payment for annual subscribers, $6 for monthly subscribers, or a 10% discount on the next renewal.
Earlier this year FloSports settled the privacy suit brought by subscriber Christopher J. Fiorentino in 2022, who alleged that FloSports knowingly designed its websites to use code that would send the subscriber’s Facebook ID and the title of the video they watched to Facebook (Meta).
FloSports reached a settlement in July that was given preliminary approval in August. The settlement class includes any FloSports subscriber who is also a Facebook user and who viewed any pre-recorded videos on the FloSports website.
In that settlement, subscribers have until January 12, 2024 to submit or exclude from claims or object to the settlement.