YouTube TV Dropping Sinclair Sports Networks

(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

YouTube TV has notified its subscribers that the regional sports networks owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group will no longer be carried starting Oct. 1.

The note to subscribers explains that YouTube TV negotiated an extension earlier this year with Sinclair to continue carrying the RSNs, most of which continue to carry the Fox brand. The extension ran through the end of the Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association and National Hockey League regular seasons.

“Unfortunately, now the seasons are over and that extension is expiring, YouTube TV said. 

“This was a difficult decision made after months of negotiations. We hope that we can bring Fox RSNs back in the future. Thank you for your membership as we work to make YouTube TV the best streaming experience,” the note said.

Sinclair said that despite a "good faith effort by both parties" to reach a distribution deal, Sinclair and YouTube TV could not come to a mutual agreement.

"While we are disappointed that YouTube will discontinue carriage of the RSNs, we remain in discussions in an effort to find a mutually acceptable path to returning the RSNs to YouTube TV," said arry Faber, Sinclair's President Distribution & Network Relations. "We intend to keep the public informed as to the progress of these discussions so that YouTube TV subscribers can make informed decisions regarding how to view the extremely popular programming carried on these RSNs."

Both companies noted that subscribers will no longer have access to recordings made of programs shown in the Fox RSNs.

The affected networks include Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Carolinas, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports Wisconsin and SportsTime Ohio.

Sinclair bought the 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks from the Walt Disney Co. for $9.6 billion in a deal that closed in August 2019. Disney acquired them when it bought 21st Century Fox but had to divest them to satisfy government regulators concerned about concentration in the TV sports market because Disney also owns ESPN.

When YouTube TV agreed to an extension with Sinclair, it did not agree to carry some of the biggest RSNs, notable Prime Ticket, Fox Sports West and the YES Network. YouTube also never carried the Marquee Sports Network, Sinclair’s joint venture with the Chicago Cubs.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.