Q. I am angry that I won’t be able to watch the Miami Heat games on Hulu Live because they got rid of the Fox Sports regional channels. Is there anyway to watch them without subscribing again to cable or satellite? I really don’t want to do that! — Cord-Cutter, Fort Lauderdale.
Well, Cord-Cutter in Fort Lauderdale, Hulu last October lost the 21 Fox-named regional sports networks, Marquee Sports and Yes Network when it could not reach a new carriage agreement with their owner, Sinclair Broadcasting. The blackout came after YouTube TV lost the channels in September in a separate fee fight with Sinclair. In addition, live streamers FuboTV and Sling TV lost the channels previously this year.
The blackouts are driving NBA fans crazy because the 2020-21 season began last night. (The Sinclair RSNs have the rights to NBA, NHL and MLB games in their respective regions.)
Earlier this morning, I wrote about the possibility that one or all four live streaming services will sign a new deal with Sinclair to bring back the channels. You can read that article here.
But until there’s a resolution, consumers looking to avoid cable and satellite TV service — and those mind-numbing two-year contracts — have only one option to keep watching the Sinclair-owned channels.
AT&T TV Now.
The live streaming service carries most major regional sports channels, including some hard-to-find ones such as MASN, Altitude Sports and SportsNet LA. And, yes, the AT&T TV Now lineup includes the Fox Sports regionals owned by Sinclair.
AT&T TV Now is available on most streaming devices, and it does not require a contract or installation fee. It even comes with a seven-day free trial.
But there is a catch. AT&T TV Now has two plans, one called Plus for $55 a month and one called Max for $80 a month. And as you probably have already guessed, the Max plan has your regional sports channels, not the cheaper Plus package.
If you’re going to pay $80 a month, you might as well subscribe to cable or satellite, right? Well, if it weren’t for those contracts and regional sports channel fees. (AT&T TV Now does not have a regional sports channel fee. You just pay the $80 a month.)
It’s a shame that AT&T doesn’t include your regional sports channel in the Plus plan. At $55 a month, the service would generate a significant number of subscribers, particularly sports fans now. But, of course, the cost of paying Sinclair, and the other owners of regional sports channels, likely forces it to keep them in the higher tier.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann