Fox Sports, YES still available on YouTube TV for now

On February 27, YouTube TV, YouTube’s live TV streaming service, announced via Twitter that it was unable to reach an agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group during renegotiations, and would no longer offer Fox Regional Sports Networks, including YES Network, beginning February 29.

However, it seems the two warring parties have agreed to a ceasefire of sorts. YouTube issued the following tweet right before the weekend:

We are! We have agreed to a temporary extension! FOX Regional Sports Networks and YES Network are still available on YouTube TV while we work to reach an agreement. We’ll be sure to share an update as soon as we have more info on a potential timeline. More to come!

— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) February 29, 2020

So for now, it looks like YouTube TV subscribers get to keep watching these two popular sports channels.

Should negotiations ultimately fail, it is expected to affect coverage of at least 15 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, with opening day of the 2020 season less than a month away. Sinclair pulling its channels from YouTube TV would also affect 40 teams across MLB, the NBA, and the NHL.

Explaining its contract troubles in a string of tweets last week, YouTube TV said that it has “contracts with content owners that are periodically renegotiated.” Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns both Fox Regional Sports Network and YES Network, is one of those content owners. In fact, it’s one of the largest owners of local TV stations in the U.S.

To bring you 70+ channels, we have contracts with content owners that are periodically renegotiated. Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of FOX Regional Sports Networks and YES Network, is one of the largest owners of local TV stations in the US.

— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) February 27, 2020

We purchase rights from Sinclair to distribute content to you. Despite our best efforts, we’ve been unable to reach an agreement with Sinclair. As a result, we will no longer offer FOX Regional Sports Networks, including YES Network, beginning February 29th.

— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) February 27, 2020

Thank you for your membership as we strive to build the best possible streaming experience for you. You will receive an email today if you’re impacted by this change.

— YouTube TV (@YouTubeTV) February 27, 2020

YouTube TV claimed in subsequent tweets that the agreement failure is a “reflection of the rising cost of sports content,” and noted that other TV services have “also decided to remove Fox Regional Sports Networks from their lineups.”

Should the contractual dispute prove intractable, YouTube TV would join services like Sling TV and FuboTV that have also dropped Fox Regional Sports Networks. FuboTV dropped the service on January 1, arguing that stand-alone rates for the channels were “not consistent with FuboTV’s mission to provide value and keep costs low to consumers.”

Sling TV put out a similar, more strongly worded statement on its negotiations with Sinclair, saying that the group has “made the deliberate decision to block your access to their channels. They have made unreasonable demands, and we refuse to impose those demands on you, our customer.”

If things don’t go well in the coming days, Hulu + Live TV and AT&T TV Now could become the only remaining services that provide Sinclair’s sports channels.

YouTube TV, which has offered 70-plus channels and unlimited cloud DVR, costs $50 per month for a subscription.

Updated on March 2, 2020: Added news that negotiations are ongoing after a temporary extension.

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