TV Answer Man, I saw that the contract with MLB Network and YouTube TV has lapsed and the network has been removed from YouTube TV. Will this have any impact on MLB TV being offered on YouTube TV this year? — Jason, town withheld.
Jason, YouTube TV informed subscribers on January 31 in an e-mail that it will no longer carry MLB Network due to a carriage dispute.
“We have been working hard to renew our deal with the MLB Network to continue carrying their content on YouTube TV,” the e-mail stated. “However, we have been unable to reach an agreement.”
“With Spring Training about to start, we regret that YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement. MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution,” MLB Network said in a January 31 statement.
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Since the dispute began, I have received several e-mails asking if the fee fight would affect YouTube TV’s ability to offer MLB.TV, the league’s online package of out-of-market regular season games. YouTube TV has sold the package to its subscribers for a few years and has incorporated the games into its on-screen programming guide.
Well, YouTube TV today notified MLB TV subscribers that it can no longer offer the baseball package due to the MLB Network impasse.
“We recently informed members about our deal expiration with the MLB Network…Unfortunately, this also affects the MLB TV add-on and standalone channel on YouTube TV,” the e-mail states. “Starting today, February 16, 2023, MLB TV content will no longer be available on YouTube TV and you will no longer be charged…You will also lose access to any previous Library recordings from MLB TV.”
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The TV Answer Man has repeatedly asked MLB TV for a comment on the YouTube TV dispute but has yet to receive a response.
MLB TV issued this statement this afternoon:
“While we continue to be disappointed that YouTube TV has not negotiated a fair carriage agreement for MLB Network consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to, fans should know that MLB.TV continues to be widely available as a direct to consumer service. Fans can go to MLB.TV to sign up for MLB’s out-of-market service that last year set a record with more than 11 billion minutes watched of MLB action in its 20th anniversary season.”
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If YouTube TV subscribers really want MLB TV they can subscribe directly to MLB TV on the MLB TV website. I have a feeling that YouTube TV is going all in on the NFL Sunday Ticket. YouTube TV right now wants to avoid raising the price beyond $64.99 a month.
That’s more than 660 billion seconds MLB TV! It would be even more meaningless if stated in nanoseconds.
I think MLB Network will return to YouTube TV.
The way the industry is going…a linear programmer needs all it can get in the way of carriage.
Other than Fubo TV…when it comes to IP service providers, with a linear channel lineup of programmers, who are not also cable or satellite companies, ranked No. 1 in subscribers is Google’s YouTube TV. Turns out…Hulu + Live TV does not carry sports-specific programmers like NBA TV, NHL Network, and MLB Network. Fubo TV has a business model that is in doubt. (No A&E and its sister channels. No AMC and its sister channels. No TCM and nearly all or all its other sister channels.) So, I would have to figure…it is MLB Network that is more in need for YouTube TV.
I would give this a few more weeks.
MLB Network should be available for streaming when you buy the MLB.TV package directly. Very disappointed that this is not the case. Difficult to find a provider who carries MLB Network other than the dreadful cable options.