Google Fiber Tees Up Premium Sports Tier

Google Fiber has confirmed that the unit will introduce a sports TV tier next month in Kansas City, but has yet to reveal pricing.

A spokeswoman verified that Google Fiber distributed a note to customers relaying word about the coming change, which will involve moving the Longhorn Network, The Sportsman Channel and TVG from its standard channel lineup to a new Premium Sports Package.

The new package will also include NFL Red Zone, MLB Strike Zone, Universal Sports, Gol TV, Outside TV and HRTV, “among others.”

“We’ll be reaching out again in early August with pricing information and additional details, once the Premium Sports package becomes available for Fiber TV customers to add-on to their existing service plan,” Google Fiber said, in the communique.

Google Fiber’s decision offload sports programming costs is part of a wider trend. For example, Verizon FiOS TV launched a $9.99 “Sports Pass” add-on tier in April.

Google Fiber only offers TV service when bundled with its 1 Gbps broadband service. That $120 per month package includes a Nexus 7 tablet, and one Google Fiber TV box. Customers can purchase additional TV boxes for $120 or rent them out for $5 per month each.

The base Google Fiber TV lineup currently offers 172 channels. Google hawks a premium package of HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore and Showtime channels for $40 per month, or $20 for an HBO-only package, $10 for the Cinemax multiplex, or $10 for a Starz/Encore combo.

Google Fiber currently delivers services to two “fiberhoods” in Kansas City, Kan., but has several more in the process of being connected there, as well as in Kansas City, Mo. Google Fiber has also secured franchise deals in several nearby communities, including Mission, Shawnee, and Olathe, Kan.; and Lee’s Summit, Gladstone, and Grandview, Mo.

Outside of the K.C. area, also has plans to start connecting homes in Austin, Texas, by mid-2014, and has a deal in place to take over and upgrade the iProvo fiber network in Provo, Utah. A Google Fiber spokeswoman denied speculation that it has already begun to connect homes in Provo, noting that the deal is not yet closed.