US sports-focused OTT streaming service fuboTV has dropped Fox’s 22 regional sports networks amid rising licensing costs.
The Fox regional sports networks were acquired by Sinclair Broadcasting Group from media giant Disney last year in a deal worth $10.6bn (€9.5bn).
FuboTV has also dropped FX, FXX, FXM and National Geographic, although it will continue to offer the Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 channels, ensuring its coverage of the NFL American football league will continue.
In a statement reported by Cord Cutters News, fuboTV said: “In May 2019, Fox divested its regional sports networks (RSNs), which were ultimately purchased by Sinclair Broadcast Group. Standalone rates for these RSNs are not consistent with fuboTV’s mission to provide value and keep costs low to consumers. As of January 1, 2020, these networks have left fuboTV, like they have with other virtual MVPDs.
“Despite these changes, fuboTV continues to be a sports-focused cable TV replacement with home team coverage in top markets. fuboTV’s carriage of regional sports networks includes full coverage in Chicago, Philadelphia, the San Francisco Bay area and Boston, significant coverage in New York, and we are the only vMVPD with home team coverage in Houston.
“Additionally, our base package features more than 40 channels that carry sports and over 700 local broadcast stations. We’re also the only vMVPD streaming live sports, including Super Bowl LIV, in 4K.”
Fox Sports Networks later provided a statement to Cord Cutters News expressing its disappointment at fuboTV’s decision. It said: “Fubo positions itself as a sports-first service, yet it has chosen not to carry our RSNs, ESPN or ABC.
“In addition, Fubo has dropped Fox-affiliated television stations in nearly 40 markets, FX and National Geographic Channel. We offered FuboTV terms consistent with those agreed to by the many other providers that carry our RSNs – including other OTT providers such as YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV and AT&T TV Now.
“FuboTV customers should switch providers today to watch their favourite teams’ games and many other popular sports and entertainment programmes.”
In August, Fox Sports Networks struck a multi-year carriage renewal with Cox Communications in a deal that kept 15 Fox regional sports networks on one of the larger US cable distributors.