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YouTube TV the latest streaming service to drop FSD, other regional sports networks

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Cord-cutting fans of the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons have a problem, and it's a problem that's not going away — as their access to their teams' games is

YouTube TV on Friday became the latest streaming service to drop the regional sports networks owned by Sinclair, with Fox Sports Detroit among them.

Tigers pitching prospect Tarik Skubal poses for promo photos during a Fox Sports Detroit shoot in Lakeland, Fla.

YouTube TV joins other streaming services like Sling TV and fuboTV to drop the sports networks, citing the rising costs of sports content. Sports networks traditionally have accounted for much of the traditional-cable bill. Each cable channel charges the cable company a certain amount per subscriber, with that cost being passed on to the customer. While many channels cost cents, sports channels are often in the dollars.

"We do not take this decision lightly," YouTube TV said in a statement Friday. "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."

Sinclair owns more than 190 television properties in the United States, with a recent purchase adding nearly two-dozen regional-sports networks, including the Yankees' YES Network.

The regional-sports networks were sold off by 21st Century Fox, when Disney bought out that company. The U.S. Justice Department, in approving that sale, ordered the regional-sports networks sold to another company to avoid monopoly issues, given Disney's ownership of the many ESPN properties.

Fox Sports Detroit is one of those Sinclair properties, and carries the heavy majority of regular-season games for the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons.

The Ilitches in late 2018 started publicly discussing the idea of forming their own TV network, as several pro sports franchises have, but there's been little about those developments in the several months since.

The current Tigers and Red Wings deal with FSD is up early this decade. The Tigers are known to receive $50 million a year under the current contract.

In recent years, traditional TV viewing habits have changed dramatically, creating a mass exodus from cable — where monthly bills can often eclipse $150 or even $200 — to streaming sites, Netflix and Hulu the most popular. YouTube TV costs about $50 a month, Sling TV $30 and up, and fuboTV $54.99.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984