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Roku Will Remove Fox Now and Fox Sports Apps Ahead of Super Bowl LIV

Jason Gurwin

In a surprise email to customers today, Roku informed streamers that “On January 31, 2020, all standalone FOX channels will no longer be available on Roku streaming devices.”

That means beginning tomorrow, they will remove the FOX Now, FOX Sports, FOX News, FOX Business, FOX Nation, Big 10 Network, and FOX Soccer apps from the Roku Channel Store and existing devices. According to the company, their distribution contract with FOX Corp is set to expire on that day. In most cases, Roku gets a cut of ad revenue from those streamed in apps on their platform.

The exact nature of the dispute is not clear, but this comes just weeks after AT&T TV NOW was removed from the Roku Channel Store. This won’t affect the Fox Sports Go app, which is now owned and managed by Sinclair Media Group.

The news couldn’t come at a worse time for those on Roku devices since Super Bowl LIV will be streaming in the Fox Sports App in 4K on Sunday, February 2nd. Fortunately, Roku streamers can still use services like fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, and Live TV Streaming Services to watch the games — or an alternative streaming device like Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV 4K.

“Roku’s distribution agreement with FOX Corp is set to expire on Jan. 31. We offered FOX an extension so that Roku can continue to bring a large and valuable audience to FOX but FOX declined,” Roku said in a statement to The Streamable. “If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove FOX channels from the Roku platform. We will no longer have the legal right to distribute their content.”

“Meanwhile customers can view FOX programming including the big game in many other ways on the Roku platform including through Fubo, Sling TV, Hulu Live and You Tube TV. Many offer free trials for new customers. In addition Roku TV customers can use an antenna to watch FOX channels. Our discussions with FOX continue and we hope that FOX will agree to an agreement soon.”

In a statement to The Streamable, a Fox Corporation spokesperson wrote, “Roku’s threat to delete FOX apps from its customers’ devices is a naked effort to use its customers as pawns. To be clear, FOX has not asked Roku to remove our apps, and we would prefer Roku continue to make them available without interruption. Roku’s tactics are a poorly timed negotiating ploy, fabricating a crisis with no thought for the alarm it generated among its own customers. Even if Roku unilaterally decides to remove FOX apps, savvy Roku customers know Super Bowl LIV on FOX will be ubiquitously available through streaming providers, FOX apps on the biggest streaming platforms and our website. Only Roku can pull apps from its customers’ devices, and we would urge them to stop the intimidation tactics and reconsider the merits of irritating their best customers in pursuit of Roku’s own interests.”