YouTube TV: What Happened to Fox Sports?


Q. Hey, I used to get Fox Sports Southwest on YouTube TV here in Lubbock, but now it’s gone. We used to watch the (Texas) Rangers games. Is the channel coming back? — Tom, Lubbock, Texas. 

Tom, as you may know, YouTube TV last week signed a new carriage agreement with Sinclair, the owner of the 21 Fox regional sports channels, that permits it to carry 19 of them. (As part of the new pact, YouTube TV will no longer carry Fox Sports West or Prime Ticket, as well as the Yes Network.)

The new agreement was extensively covered in the media, but what slipped by many publications is that YouTube TV and Sinclair also tightened the markets that can receive the regional channels. For instance, Fox Sports Southwest is still available to YouTube TV subscribers in the greater Dallas area, but not in some of the outlying areas such as Lubbock.

Previous to the new pact, the channels were available in the outer markets (such as Lubbock) on YouTube TV. And they are still available in the outlying markets on other services such as DIRECTV and AT&T TV.

So why were the territories redrawn under the new deal?

Money. By offering the Fox regional sports channels to fewer subscribers, YouTube TV does not have to pay Sinclair as much money in carriage fees. (Provider fees are based on how many subscribers can get the programmer’s channels.)

This is why YouTube TV also stopped carrying New York’s Yes Network (partially owned by Sinclair, but managed by it) and Los Angeles’ Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket. By eliminating the channels in those two major markets, YouTube TV is saving a bundle in carriage fees.

I’m sure Sinclair is not happy about the new arrangement. But the company needs to get whatever carriage it can these days. Dish, Sling TV and FuboTV still don’t carry the Fox regional sports channels, and it’s possible that Comcast won’t as well in the coming months.

As for YouTube TV, this is what it’s telling unhappy subscribers on social media sites:

“As  part of the new deal we’ve made with Sinclair, we won’t be able to offer FOX RSNs to certain areas anymore. We don’t take this decision lightly & we’ll continue to do our best to make YouTube TV a best-in-class experience,” @TeamYouTube wrote on Twitter today.

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— Phillip Swann

7 comments on “YouTube TV: What Happened to Fox Sports?”

  1. The excessive cost of sports programming is one reason why many people are ditching cable. It is said that ESPN alone charges $8.00 a month per subscriber It Is also said that by a survey, that 56 Percent, of the subscribers, if they could would cancel ESPN, but Can.t because the agreement between the cable Companies and ABC/ESPN won’t allow it. Almost all; the sports networks are owned by the big four OTA networks and have little concern for subscribers.

  2. I live in Greenville, South Carolina. We had three regional Fox Sports networks: Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southeast, and Fox Sports Carolinas. We lost all three. No more Braves games for us.

    Neither the MLB nor the Braves seem willing to step in and lean on Sinclair and YouTube TV to get on the same page, so the hell with them. I’ll just watch movies this summer instead of Braves games. And this has left such a bad taste in my mouth I’m probably done with the Braves forever. Why would I be a fan of team that obviously doesn’t give a crap about me?

  3. The new deal with Sinclair and YouTube TV only covers the Primary Market for the remaining Regional Sports Networks. Also it appears that the YouTube TV log in no longer works for the Fox Sports Go app. Hulu+ Live TV still offers the Regional Sports Network in the Primary and Secondary markets.

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