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YouTube TV becomes latest company to drop many MLB, NHL & NBA games from channel lineup

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Posted at 5:57 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 18:28:57-05

Sports fans may be looking for other viewing options after another company has decided to drop regional sports networks from its channel lineup.

Streaming service YouTube TV announced on Thursday that it will drop a number of regional sports networks that carry the a large number of MLB, NHL and NBA games throughout the country. The drop goes into effect on Saturday.

The channels affected are FOX Regional Sports Networks. In total, more than a dozen channels spread throughout the country will no longer be on YouTube TV. For instance, sports fans in New York will no longer get the YES Network to watch New York Yankees games, or viewers in Ohio will no longer see Cleveland Cavs, Cincinnati Reds, Columbus Blue Jackets and Cleveland Indians games on Fox Sports Ohio and Sportstime Ohio.

"We do not take this decision lightly," YouTube TV said. "This is a reflection of the rising cost of sports content. You may have noticed several other TV services have also decided to remove FOX Regional Sports Networks from their lineups."

The networks are owned by Sinclair, which purchased the networks last summer.

The cost of regional sports networks to cable, satellite and streaming services have dramatically increased in recent years. This is largely due to the contracts signed between networks and pro sports teams. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have signed an over $8 billion contract with Time Warner to carry games.

Local TV contracts are a large source of revenue for MLB, NBA and NHL teams. They also mark some of the most expensive networks on cable TV.

Late last year, Dish Network dropped carriage of Fox Sports Networks.

"Sinclair is asking us to pay for a majority of subscribers – in the high double-digit percentages – when fewer than ten percent of our total customers in these markets actually watch the FOX Regional Sports Networks. It’s an outdated model that no longer works for consumers," Dish Network said in 2019.

Dish Network also dropped Altitude Network in Colorado and NBC Sports Chicago.

Here is a list of the channels affected by Thursday's announcement by YouTube TV:

FSN Arizona
FSN Cincinnati
FSN Detroit
FSN Florida
FSN Midwest
FSN North
FSN Ohio
FSN Prime Ticket
FSN San Diego
FSN South
FSN Southeast
FSN Southwest
FSN Sun
FSN West
Sportstime Ohio
YES Network