TV Answer Man, I see Hulu’s live streaming service is offering a promotional price reduction for a few months. I am thinking about trying it out but do you know if it has the regional sports channels? And what about the NFL Network and RedZone channel? You know sports so I will trust your opinion on this. Is Hulu Live good for sports fans? Let us know!! — Emile, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Emile, Hulu Live has more than 85 channels in its base lineup which costs $69.99 a month. However, the streamer is now offering the first three months for $20 off in each month if you subscribe before October 5. That will bring the base price to $49.99 a month. (Note: Regular prices will go into effect after the three months are over and Hulu Live is raising its base price to $74.99 a month on December 8.)
But if you’re a sports fan, before subscribing, you will want to know if Hulu Live carries the channels that will allow to watch your favorite teams. Let’s start with the regional sports channels.
The answer is that it depends upon where you live.
Hulu Live carries the NBC Sports regional channels in the Washington D.C. area, Philadelphia, the Pacific Northwest, Chicago, San Francisco, and Boston as well as SportsNet New York, the TV home of the New York Mets.
But it does not carry the 19 Sinclair-owned Bally Sports regional sports channels, nor other regional sports channels such as the AT&T-named networks, MASN, SportsNet LA, Altitude, or NESN. Hulu has been engaged in various disputes with the regionals, claiming they charge too much money for their carriage rights.
This is not an uncommon situation in the live streaming category. Whether it’s Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV or FuboTV, the streamers’ profit margins are so thin that it’s hard for them to justify paying the regional sports channels, which do charge more than most channels. (DIRECTV Stream is the only live streamer that does carry most regional sports networks.)
I don’t expect this will change anytime soon. The live streamers are trying to keep their prices as low as possible to entice cord-cutters so they simply don’t have the cash reserves to add more sports channels.
Now, what about the NFL Network and RedZone channel?
The answer is yes to both. Hulu Live added the NFL Network to its base package last August and the RedZone channel to its sports add-on plan at the same time. The sports plan, which costs $10 a month, also includes MAV TV, Motorsports Network, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, TVG, and TVG2.
It’s also worth noting that Hulu Live carries the local network affiliates in most markets and well as ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPNU, the Golf Channel, SEC Network, FS1, CBS Sports Network, and the Big Ten Network. So while it doesn’t have many of the regional sports networks, it does have plenty of sports.
Emile, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann