A map of the Fox RSNs.

There were already some holes in the YouTube TV deal with Sinclair for carriage of the Fox regional sports networks (bought by Sinclair last May), as that deal didn’t include YES, Fox Sports West, and Fox Sports Prime Ticket. And it turns out that even for the 19 RSNs that are now back on YouTube TV, they’re not back for all of those who used to be able to get them, as it seems the distribution of certain RSNs has been particularly cut down. A YouTube TV tweet Thursday hinted at this:

As for some of the specific networks lost in certain zip codes, lots of people replied to Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand with what they’ve lost under this new deal.

It’s notable that this doesn’t appear to be about out-of-market channels, but rather limiting the distribution of certain channels to only certain parts of their market. So out-of-market streaming packages like MLB.tv won’t solve the problem for those affected, especially given baseball’s particularly restrictive local blackouts.

At this point in time, the main option to get these channels appears to be switching to another provider. And when it comes to streaming bundles rather than traditional cable or satellite, the main ones currently carrying the Fox RSNs appear to be AT&T TV Now (the streaming bundle that used to be DirecTV Now), AT&T TV (the new streaming bundle that’s closer to conventional TV, and is designed as more of a U-Verse/DirecTV replacement), and Hulu + Live TV. Dish-owned Sling dropped the Fox RSNs last summer, and fuboTV dropped the Fox RSNs in January. There’s some chance that a deal could get done with one or the other (even Dish has appeared more open to those discussions lately) at some point, but for now, the options are pretty limited for those affected by this YouTube TV move. And as always with any switch, it’s worth checking to make sure you can get the channels you want in your area first.

It’s interesting to see YouTube TV doing this. On one hand, there are presumably some cost savings for them, especially if they’re not offering a discount to those who used to get certain RSNs and now don’t. And it seems better for them to have even a limited deal for 19 of the 22 RSNs in question (19 of the 21 Fox-branded RSNs and then YES) than to have no deal, especially considering the heavy focus they’ve placed on sports in advertisements for the service (and in sponsorship deals from MLB games to the NBA Finals to the World Series). This lets them say “Yes, we have the RSNs!” But reducing which customers can get those RSNs has led to some customer backlash and provider switching, and they’re still missing those New York and LA RSNs altogether. And this approach means new potential YouTube TV subscribers will have to check very, very closely to see that they’ll actually get the RSNs they want.

 

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.