YouTube TV Drops MLB Network
Distributor strikes out in negotiations to renew carriage deal with network ahead of baseball spring training
YouTube TV on Tuesday pulled MLB Network from its programming lineup after failing to reach a new distribution deal, according to a notice sent to the distributor's subscribers.
Along with losing access to MLB Network on YouTube TV's basic tier, the distributor's subscribers will also lose any network-based recorded programming. Subscribers will still be able to watch live national baseball games via Fox, ESPN and TBS as part of the distributor’s $65 basic plan.
“We have held good faith negotiations with MLB for several months to renew our deal to continue carrying their content on YouTube TV. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unable to reach a new agreement before our existing one expired,” a YouTube TV spokesperson said. “Starting today, January 31, 2023, the MLB Network will no longer be available on YouTube TV.”
YouTube TV has dropped MLB Network from its lineup due to a carriage dispute, effective tonight. pic.twitter.com/plwn56dd8vFebruary 1, 2023
The loss of MLB Network comes within weeks of the start of Major League Baseball’s spring training and less than two months before the start of its regular season.
MLB said in a statement: “With Spring Training about to start, we regret that YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement. MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution. With the great demand and value for live baseball content, Major League Baseball’s commitment to MLB Network now and in the future is stronger than ever before, and we remain open and committed to reaching an agreement with YouTube TV as soon as possible. ■
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R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.