On Thursday, YouTube TV announced that it was going to lose Fox Regional Sports Networks over contract disputes with Sinclair. The deadline was today, but a temporary extension sees those channels still available as both parties “work to reach an agreement.”
YouTube on Friday afternoon revealed how a “temporary extension” will see content remain available while negotiations continue. The service did not reveal how long that will last, and hopes to “share an update as soon as we have more info on a potential timeline.”
Contract disputes usually come down to the wire, and this one is no exception. They usually involve public appeals to customers, though YouTube’s letter to customers this week was matter of fact and just relayed the details. YouTube TV has been hammered in recent days by upset customers saying they would switch to Hulu’s competing offering for regional sports.
Google’s push into TV has 2 million paying subscribers in part due to its heavy messaging as being home to live sports. For example, the service sponsors and heavily advertises during finals and championships to attract new members.
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
The Sinclair Broadcast Group last year purchased the Fox Regional Sports Networks from Disney (after its acquisition of 21st Century Fox). In total, there are 18 networks and various teams that span across the country, including the YES Network.
YouTube was not able to reach a renegotiation deal before the announcement was made on Thursday. The Google-owned company cited the “rising cost of sports content” as the issue, and alluded to other cord-cutting services — like Sling TV from Dish — that recently moved to drop the Regional Sports Networks. For its part, Sinclair claimed (via The Verge) that it was offering “to actually lower the fees they pay.”
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