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Sunday, June 23, 2024

YouTube TV Drops MLB Network Two Weeks Before Spring Training

  • YouTube TV informed users that MLB Network is no longer available on the service, but the two sides continue to negotiate.
  • MLB's antitrust exemption is also under scrutiny by the Department of Justice.
MLB Network
Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

MLB is tussling with one of the world’s largest tech companies while its antitrust exemption is under fire.

The league’s MLB Network was dropped from Google-owned YouTube TV on Tuesday after the two sides failed to reach a new agreement.

  • Users are also unable to access archived content, but MLB broadcasts and coverage from other networks, such as Fox, ESPN, and TBS remain available on YouTube TV.
  • MLB Network released a statement: “We regret that YouTube TV has been unwilling to negotiate a fair carriage agreement. MLB Network has offered terms consistent with what close to 300 other U.S. providers have agreed to for distribution.”
  • YouTube TV told users it “will continue conversations with the MLB to advocate on your behalf in the hope of restoring their content on YouTube TV.”

Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training on Feb. 15, with Opening Day set for March 30.

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Anti-Antitrust

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Justice argued that MLB’s antitrust exemption should not be extended. The DOJ issued a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a suit brought by four minor league teams which were among the 40 eliminated by MLB in 2020.

The exemption, established in 1922, is expected to survive through the case’s current stage in the Manhattan federal appeals court, but an appeal to the Supreme Court is considered likely.

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