SAN BRUNO, Calif./COCKEYSVILLE, Md. (Heartland Newsfeed/Ambush Sports) — After an announcement earlier in the week was going to result in Fox regional sports networks (RSNs) to be pulled off the air Saturday, it appeared a last-minute temporary short-term extension has been approved between Alphabet’s YouTube TV and Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of the RSNs.
The previous carriage deal, which had been set to end at midnight Eastern, had resulted in the company stating that they would drop the sports channels Saturday after both parties failed to properly negotiate a new deal
TeamYouTube issued several updates Friday night and early Saturday morning about the temporary extension with Sinclair to keep the RSNs and YES Network available while negotiations resume.
“We’re waiting for an update on the agreement we’re working on with them,” they stated in one tweet.
YouTube had confirmed that they would not lower their price of $49.99/month if the RSNs did go dark and had stated in a tweet, “We don’t have plans to lower the cost at this time – this change is a reflection of the rising cost of sports content,” the Google-owned video service said.
A representative from Sinclair stated Thursday that they offered YouTube TV “the best terms under which their competitors carry our regional sports networks.”
Carriage fights are not new to broadcasting and has been in the pay-TV landscape for years, with sports being the most expensive properties. The ongoing spat between YouTube TV and Sinclair stems from Dish Network and Sling TV cutting the Fox RSNs from their lineup last summer, with FuboTV joining them in January
The temporary deal was stemmed from a manipulative, deceptive website hosted by Sinclair, trying to force sports fans to go elsewhere if their providers ditched the Fox RSNs, with YES Network (co-owned by Sinclair, the New York Yankees and Amazon) put out a website of their own.
In addition to the ongoing negotiations with YouTube TV, Sinclair is currently undergoing negotiations with Comcast. They are slated to enter renewal negotiations with Hulu and Charter Spectrum in March.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.