With the three non-NFL major American sports leagues not starting up until Christmas (at the earliest), a number of streaming services have been dropping RSNs from their channel lineups. YouTube TV is no exception, and on Friday, they dropped another one.
Effective Saturday, NESN won’t be available on YouTube TV. Here’s the note that was sent to subscribers, per The Streamable.
We’re writing to let you know that our agreement with New England Sports Network (NESN) has expired. Unfortunately, we were unable to reach a new agreement to continue offering you this network.
Starting Saturday, October 31st, 2020, NESN will now longer be available on YouTube TV, and you will no longer have access to any previous recording from NESN.
We regret the inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your membership as we strive to make YouTube TV the best streaming experience.
The YouTube TV team
NESN, which is 80% owned by the Fenway Sports Group (owners of the Red Sox), is the cable home of the Red Sox and Bruins. The network also airs a variety of college games, highlighted by its coverage of the Hockey East. The network is still available on both AT&T TV Now and fuboTV.
Additionally, NBC Sports Boston is still available on YouTube TV (for now, at least). The RSN is the home of the Celtics and Revolution.
YouTube TV’s temporary deal with the Fox RSNs for the 2020 season ended at the end of September and has yet to be renewed. Hulu also dropped those networks last week. Earlier this year, fuboTV kicked the RSNs to the curb, and Sling dropped them last summer.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all if new deals are reached (at least with YouTube and Hulu) early in 2021 when the NBA, NHL, and MLB are all getting back to live games. But I also wouldn’t be shocked if these services again raise their prices if deals to get reached. YouTube TV raised its price to $64.99/month over the summer, while Hulu Live’s last price increase to $54.99/month came last November. fuboTV upped its base price to $60 over the summer, but both Sling and AT&T TV have avoided subscription increases over the last year or so.
The good news is that if cord cutters probably won’t notice the lack of the RSNs over the next two months, given that their programming schedules will consist of zero live NHL, NBA, or MLB games. However, given the struggles Sinclair has dealt with since acquiring the RSNs, it wouldn’t surprise me if cuts hit those networks – especially if carriage battles continue to carry on when live action returns to those sports.