YouTube TV has announced that it’s dropping regional Fox Sports channels from its service on February 29, becoming the third live TV streaming provider to do so.
“We do not take this decision lightly,” YouTube TV said in a statement on Twitter. “This is a reflection of the rising cost of sports content.”
YouTube TV isn’t alone in deciding that Fox Sports regionals are no longer worth the price. Dish Network dropped the channels from its satellite service and from Sling TV last summer, and FuboTV, a service that once prided itself on its live sports offerings, dropped them at the start of this year. PlayStation Vue, which had offered regional Fox Sports channels, shut down at the end of January. For cord-cutters who want to watch Fox Sports regionals without cable, Hulu + Live TV ($55 per month) and AT&T TV Now ($80 per month for the “Max” package) are the last remaining options.
The backstory here is that these channels are no longer owned by Fox, despite the name. When Disney acquired 21st Century Fox, it agreed to divest Fox’s regional sports networks and sold them to Sinclair Broadcast Group for $9.6 billion. Sinclair may be looking for much higher carriage fees from TV providers to recoup its investment, but that plan could be backfiring as streaming providers balk and traditional TV continues to decline at historic rates.