One of the few streaming deals the Cubs and Sinclair put together for their fledging regional sports network is already over.
That is, unless there’s some last-minute save between Sinclair and Hulu+ Live TV:
Fox Sports regional sports networks — including YES Network and Marquee Sports Network — will no longer be available on Hulu + Live TV starting Oct. 23.
The channels were also dropped by YouTube TV, making AT&T TV NOW's $80 max plan the only way for fans to stream them. pic.twitter.com/ky3WXkpgzG
— Front Office Sports (@frntofficesport) October 22, 2020
Welp… this is bad news for anyone that signed up for HULU TV (like myself) just to watch The Cubs pic.twitter.com/0bcsCd6r2G
— Lord Of Thunder (@TheHerosJourney) October 22, 2020
With the baseball season over, it’s not a surprise that there would be challenging negotiations between Sinclair and providers. Recall, Sinclair owns or is a partner in the FOX RSNs, the Yankees’ YES Network, and the Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network. They handle these negotiations in a bundle now, so if a deal isn’t reached for all of them, there’s no deal for any of them.
That means, again, unless there’s a last-minute deal, Marquee will roll right back off of Hulu for the time being. Back for next spring? Maybe. But it probably doesn’t cost Hulu much to dump the RSNs right now and see what happens next year, especially when the actual return date for baseball could wind up right back up in the air. And especially-especially when Hulu’s chief streaming rival, YouTube TV, doesn’t have deals in place with any of the RSNs either.
Meanwhile, the news is another big blow for Sinclair, which is going through a very, very extended rough patch. What happens to Sinclair in the long-term won’t impact the Cubs and Marquee quite as much as it would the RSNs that Sinclair actually owns, but most of the reason the Cubs got into this with Sinclair in the first place was the ability to utilize Sinclair’s experience in the pay-TV space, and leverage Sinclair’s reach for better deals. So far – with an acknowledgement of the pandemic – it’s not clear how well that’s actually going.