Streamers Bidding for D.C. United Local Media Rights
Earlier this year, YouTube TV began acquiring local media rights for Major League Soccer (MLS) teams. The only way Orlando City SC, Seattle Sounders, and LA FC can watch locally televised broadcasts is on YouTube TV.
|AT&T NOW||fuboTV||Hulu||Philo||PS Vue||Sling TV||YouTube|
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|LA FC Sports Network||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||•|
|Orlando City SC Sports Network||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||•|
|Seattle Sounders Sports Network||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||•|
This trend seems to be on the rise, as reports suggest that D.C. United local broadcasts are up for grabs. The team’s deal with Sinclair to air matches on WJLA in the D.C. area expires at the end of the year, following a 19 year run on NBC Sports Washington (formerly Comcast SportsNet).
Streamers bidding for exclusive local sports rights should be a cause for concern. Only in a few markets like Spectrum SportsNet in Los Angeles has a single media company held back TV rights from competing services.
One of the promises of Live TV Streaming Services is the ability to cancel at any time. But, if a single service owns exclusive rights to certain regional sports networks, you might not have as much flexility as you think.