YouTube TV Dropping Sinclair’s Regional Sports Nets

YouTube TV said it would be dropping the Fox regional sports networks, which were acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group last year.

The move, which also impacts YES Network, in which Sinclair bought a stake, is effective Feb. 29. Sinclair is also trying to get carriage for Marquee Sports Network, its joint venture with the Chicago Cubs.

In a series of tweets, YouTube TV said that the move reflects the rising cost of sports networks. It also noted that other pay TV outlets have also dropped RSNs. Dish was among the first to drop the RSNs and there is no sign that it plans to bring them back.

“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 U.S.,” YouTube TV said.

“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 said.

“We do not take this decision lightly. This is a reflection of the rising cost of sports content. You may have noticed several other TV services have also decided to remove Fox Regional Sports Networks from their lineups,” it said. “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.”

On the YES Network website, the RSN said, “we hope that we can reach an agreement with YouTube TV. However, based on the discussions we have had to date, we are not optimistic.”

YES Network told subscribers there were other pay TV services they could switch to in order to keep getting the network.

“There are other streaming services that offer the YES Network, including Yankees and Nets games, and these services are easy to sign up for, in a matter of minutes,” YES said.


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.