This week, Hulu dropped all ABC affiliates owned by Sinclair.
In addition to an e-mail sent to the affected customers, Hulu has been responding to various tweets about the issue, saying the company “no longer has the rights to distribute those channels,” as of March 8th.
Sorry for any upset, Kim! Sinclair owns a number of local ABC affiliates across the country and as of March 8, Hulu no longer has the rights to distribute those channels. If you have other questions, please let us know.
— Hulu Support (@hulu_support) March 9, 2023
Sinclair owns 34 ABC affiliates across the country, and the largest markets are Columbus, Portland, Seattle, St. Louis, and Washington DC.
A statement from Sinclair to The Desk confirmed that a carriage dispute is to blame for the channels being pulled.
“We were shocked and dismayed Hulu removed our station while in the middle of an active negotiation with no notice to its customers, despite our company’s numerous good faith attempts to negotiate a carriage deal and multiple unconditional extension offers to keep the programming on air,” a spokesperson for Sinclair said. “We call on Hulu, ABC and their owners at Disney to return to the negotiating table to end this unnecessary blackout.”
The schedule of live sports on ABC in the coming weeks is somewhat slim. There are some NBA and NHL games on weekends, and there may be NCAA Women’s Tournament live games (network assignments have yet to be announced), but that’s about it for March. For a sports fan, there are far worse networks to lose access to at this time of year.