In the race to succeed the US cable TV giants with a cord-cutting online solution, Google’s YouTube TV had emerged as a prominent frontrunner.
However, that status came under serious threat today with news the live TV streaming service will lose access to a significant portion of its live sports offering, from this weekend.
Part of the reason YouTube TV had been such a hit among cord cutters was its access to the Fox Regional Sports Networks, which provided feeds from local sports teams. In the instance of this writer, the local channels that provide access to Miami Heat NBA basketball games and Miami Marlins Major League Baseball games.
The situation will be mirrored around the United States, with sports fans now faced with finding an alternate provider, or missing out on their favourite teams’ games.
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It’s a staggering blog to YouTube’s ambitions to take over the live TV streaming realm and comes via the inability to renew a contract with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the Fox Regional Sports networks and the YES group, which is the provider for the New York Yankees – one of the biggest teams in global sports.
It a pair of tweets from the YouTube TV account, Google explained: “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 US.
“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 had snared plenty of early adopters by offering access to these regional live sports, previously a staple of the cable realm, in many of the major TV markets around the US.
Google hasn’t promised any compensation to users who pay $49.99 a month (plus tax) to access the service.