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Update 03/05: New deal agreed, but not for all channels.
YouTube TV has confirmed subscribers are set to lose access to Fox Regional Sports Networks. Since launch, YouTube TV has been one of the few live TV streaming services to continually add new channels. However, this is one of the rare instances where Google’s TV service is losing some.
YouTube TV confirmed the news via Twitter, explaining that Fox Regional Sports Networks, including YES Network, will be unavailable via the service starting from February 29. The tweet goes on to explain this is a result of the failure to secure carriage rights. Specifically, a deal could not be done with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of the channels in question.
A part of doing live TV business
Services losing access to channels has become an unfortunate part of the live TV streaming experience. In fact, it is not even a new thing with many traditional TV services also encountering the issue over the years, leading to various blackouts that either last indefinitely or temporarily while a deal is ironed out. Generally speaking, YouTube TV has proven to be one of the better live TV streaming services in this respect, as it more commonly adds channels than it takes away.
However, today’s news highlights that no service is immune from these situations and the fact YouTube has been so blatant in stating this is the end of the road for those channels further indicates a deal is unlikely to be done at all. In other words, this is not expected to be resolved anytime soon, but result in a permanent removal of the channels from the service.
What is worth noting is that the Twitter announcement did also point out how this is due to the “rising cost of sports content” and that’s important as YouTube TV could have opted to pay higher rates and then implement another price increase to the service. However, it seems losing the channels completely was considered a better outcome than charges subscribers more.
Lastly, the announcement also took the opportunity to point out that YouTube TV is not the only service to drop Fox RSNs recently, suggesting that switching might not be the best option for those who want to retain access to their local sports networks.
Source: YouTube (Twitter)