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Sinclair says it offered YouTube TV discount for sports channels

(Logo: Sinclair Broadcast Group/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Sinclair Broadcasting Group is offering added insight into its continued negotiations with YouTube TV over nearly two dozen regional sports networks that could disappear from the service as soon as Saturday.

In a statement provided to The Desk, a Sinclair spokesperson said YouTube TV was offered “the best terms” comparable to what other pay TV platforms pay for the regional sports network and even offered “to actually lower the fees they pay us” for the right to carry 21 Fox Sports-branded regional channels and the YES Network.

Sinclair said YouTube TV was also offered a short-term extension while negotiations continue with the streaming TV provider, but “they’ve not yet responded to this offer.”

On Thursday, YouTube TV made a surprise announcement on social media and in email messages to customers warning that the Sinclair-owned regional sports channels would be dropped on Saturday.

YouTube TV said the reason for its decision to drop the channels came after Sinclair was unwilling to negotiate in good terms for the channels. The contract between YouTube TV, which is owned by Google, and Sinclair expires on Saturday.

The networks were originally acquired by the Walt Disney Company through a sale of Fox-owned cable and studio assets last year. As a condition of the sale, federal regulators said Disney had to divest the two dozen Fox Sports-branded regional sports networks and the YES Network within a certain time frame. Sinclair and Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquired the sports channels for more than $10 billion, with Sinclair taking majority control of the network.


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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).