By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, now that FuboTV has the MLB Network and MLB TV, do you think that will force YouTube TV to make a deal to bring them back? There has to be pressure now, right? — Marcus, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Marcus, Fubo announced today that it will add the MLB TV package of out-of-market games to its lineup before MLB opening day, which is March 30. Fubo customers will be able to add MLB.TV to their existing channel plan (Fubo plans start at $74.99 a month) for $24.99 a month, the same price that MLB TV charges for single month plans at its web site.
The streamer also carries the MLB Network in its Elite ($84.99 a month) and Premier ($94.99 a month) plans; Pro subscribers ($74.99 a month) can add Fubo’s Extra package, which includes MLB Network and 52 other channels, for an additional $7.99 a month.
YouTube TV, a Fubo live streaming rival, lost both the MLB Network and MLB TV two months ago in a carriage dispute. The blackout has upset some baseball fans, particularly with the new season just around the corner.
So will Fubo’s addition of MLB TV force YouTube TV to reverse course and make a deal with MLB?
For starters, Sling TV and DIRECTV Stream, two other live streamers, have carried MLB Network for quite awhile and that didn’t stop YouTube TV from letting it go. If this was just about competitive pressure, YTTV would have succumbed to MLB’s demands in January.
The company obviously doesn’t believe it will lose many subscribers to its rivals just because they have MLB Network. The same logic goes for MLB TV. It’s unlikely that many customers will bolt for Fubo to get MLB TV when you can subscribe directly to the package from the league’s web site.
Second, in case you haven’t heard, Google has secured the exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket for YouTube and YouTube TV. I think Google is confident that sports fans will want to stick around to see what it has to offer for the 2023 season.
Bottom line: The economics that dictated YouTube TV’s decision in January not to renew its carriage deal with MLB haven’t changed because Fubo added MLB TV today. I don’t expect it will change YouTube TV’s decision, either.
Marcus, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann