TV Answer Man, I have FuboTV and I like it pretty well except it doesn’t have my local baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, because of some fight with the channel’s owner. They dropped it a long time ago. Do you know if they will get a new agreement soon to show the Royals? — Mike, Kansas City.
Mike, FuboTV, the multi-channel, live streaming service, lost the 19 Bally Sports regional sports channel in January 2020 due to a carriage fight with their then owner, Disney. (The channels, which were formerly known as Fox Sports, are now owned by Sinclair, which renamed them Bally Sports earlier this year. They include Bally Sports Kansas City, the TV home of the Kansas City Royals.)
The fee fight is not uncommon. Several other pay TV services, including Dish, Sling TV, Hulu Live, and YouTube TV, also do not carry the Bally channels due to separate carriage battles.
But is there anything new with FuboTV’s fight with Bally Sports?
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley last month was asked about the Bally carriage battles at the JP Morgan media conference and here’s what he had to say:
“In terms of Fubo, I do think when you take a look at what they’re doing, I don’t have a particular insight into their business, but (they) are trying different business models that you can see. And so I wouldn’t be surprised to (Fubo) picking up more RSNs (regional sports networks).”
Ripley did not say that negotiations are ongoing, but his comment offers hope that the two sides will reach an agreement sooner than later.
FuboTV plans to offer in-site betting later this year and the addition of the Bally Sports channels would certainly help attract the gambling audience. This is why I’ve said here previously that FuboTV is the most likely streaming service to settle with Sinclair.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation, and report back here if anything changes. Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann