TV Answer Man, I’ve enjoyed your stories about what’s new in all the programming fights. Is there anything new in the Hulu fight with Bally Sports, or the one with YouTube TV? I would switch to either if they made a deal with Bally. — Bob, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Bob, as you know, Hulu Live and YouTube TV have been missing the 19 Bally Sports regional sports channels since last fall due to separate carriage battles.
The two services say Sinclair, which owns Bally Sports, is asking for too much money, a charge denied by Sinclair although it acknowledges that it’s more difficult for the profit-strapped live streamers to carry regional sports because they charge less than cable and satellite.
Is there anything new in this dispute, you ask?
Not as far as we know, and that’s bad news if you’re hoping for an imminent solution. Both Hulu Live and YouTube TV have gone without the regional sports channels during the entire 2020-2021 NBA season, and the first 10 weeks of the 2021 MLB season. It’s likely that most Hulu or YouTube TV sports fans who would have dropped their service due to missing the Bally Sports channels would have done so by now, at least in the markets where the channels are available. So there’s less pressure on Hulu and YouTube TV to make a deal now.
That doesn’t mean a settlement is out of the question, but it does suggest the two streamers are content to play hardball until Sinclair lowers its price. (And that may never happen.) FuboTV subscribers, however, may have more reason to hope, which I explained here earlier today.
If you’re a Hulu Live or YouTube TV subscriber, you might have to wait until next year when Sinclair is expected to launch an app that will allow consumers to subscribe directly to a single Bally Sports channel. Of course, it will cost you, perhaps as much as $23 a month.
Bob, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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