YouTube TV, the live streaming service, announced last night that they will lose 19 Fox regional sports channels due to a carriage dispute with their owner, Sinclair Broadcasting.
“To bring you 85+ channels, we periodically renegotiate contracts with content owners. In February, we announced we had negotiated an extension with Sinclair to continue providing FOX Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) through the end of MLB, NHL and NBA seasons,” the service said in a statement. “Now that the seasons are over, that extension is expiring. Starting October 1, 2020, FOX RSNs will no longer be available on YouTube TV. Members that are impacted will no longer have access to Library recordings from the FOX RSNs.”
While YouTube TV’s statement is bad news for sports fans, it’s not clear that the channels will definitely be removed tomorrow, as the streamer suggests. YouTube TV left the door open for a new agreement with Sinclair.
“This was a difficult decision made after months of negotiations. We hope we can bring FOX RSNs back in the future. We thank you for your membership as we work to make YouTube TV the best streaming experience. You will receive an email today if you are impacted by this change,” YouTube TV stated.
In addition, the live streaming service announced in February that the channels would be removed in a few days because it could not reach a new carriage pact with Sinclair Broadcasting. But a few days later, the companies agreed on the temporary pact.
So it’s possible that history could repeat itself this week.
But maybe not. Sinclair issued a statement Wednesday suggesting an imminent settlement is unlikely:
“We value our ongoing relationship with YouTube TV, however, we are deeply disappointed with its decision to not carry certain RSNs. We offered competitive market terms but, ultimately, YouTube TV declined,” Sinclair stated. “We encourage YouTube TV subscribers who value these RSNs to turn to other streaming services or their local cable or satellite provider for continued access, or to directly contact YouTube TV with feedback.”
Update #2: The channels have been removed.
End of updates
But until it does, YouTube TV subscribers could soon lose the 19 Fox-named RSNs. (YouTube TV has carried 19 of the 22 regional sports networks owned and/or managed by Sinclair. The Yes Network, Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket were dropped in March. The channels air the games of several dozen professional teams including ones in the NHL, NBA and MLB.
YouTube TV also does not carry the Marquee Sports Network, which is co-owned by Sinclair and the Chicago Cubs.
The loss, as YouTube TV noted, will be less painful than if it occurred even a month earlier. The NBA, MLB and NHL have all recently concluded their regular seasons.
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— Phillip Swann