One of the few broadcast deals that Cubs and Sinclair put together for the emerging regional sports network has already ended.
That is, unless there is some last-minute memorization 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 beginning October 23.
The channels have also been dropped by YouTube TV, making AT&T TV NOW’s $ 80 limit plan the only way for fans to stream them. pic.twitter.com/ky3WXkpgzG
– Sports Front Office (frntofficesport) October 22, 2020
Hi … this is bad news for anyone who signed up for HULU TV (like me) just to watch The Cubs pic.twitter.com/0bcsCd6r2G
– Lord Of Thunder (TheHerosJourney) October 22, 2020
With the baseball season coming to an end, it is not surprising that Sinclair and the service providers have tough negotiations. Recall, Sinclair owns or is a partner of FOX RSNs, the YES ‘Yankees, and the Cubs Sports Network Marquee. They deal with these negotiations in a bundle now, so if no agreement is reached for all of them, then there is no deal for any of them.
That means, again, unless there is a last-minute deal, Marquee will immediately drop Hulu at the moment. Back for next spring? Could. But it probably doesn’t cost Hulu much to get rid of RSNs at the moment and see what happens next year, especially when the actual return date of baseball is up in the air. Especially when Hulu’s main competitor, YouTube TV, doesn’t have deals with any of the RSNs as well.
Meanwhile, the news is another big hit for Sinclair, who is going through a very difficult stretching patch. What happens to Sinclair in the long term won’t affect Cubs and Marquee quite as much as it does for RSNs that Sinclair already owns, but most of the reason Cubs got into this with Sinclair in the first place is the ability to capitalize on Sinclair’s expertise in the pay-TV business. And take advantage of Sinclair’s access to get even better deals. So far – with the pandemic being recognized – it’s not clear how things are actually going well.