UPDATE (12/19/2021): Google and Disney announced an agreement to restore all channels that had been removed. Original story is below.
After repeated warnings, ESPN vanished from YouTube TV in the middle of a live NBA game Friday night. Contract negotiations between Google (owner of YouTube) and Disney (ESPN’s owner) broke down, forcing the channels to be removed. All Disney-owned channels suddenly switched to a blue screen at Midnight EST, in the midst of a nationally-televised Lakers/Wolves game.
Besides Disney’s and ESPN’s branded channels, subscribers also lost channels from FX, NatGeo, Freeform, and the SEC and ACC. Their local ABC network affiliate (KATU in Portland) was also removed. YouTube TV dropped their monthly fee from $64.99 to $49.99 accordingly.
ESPN’s channels are still available for streaming via Hulu Live TV, which is partially owned by Disney, though they do not offer ROOT Sports Northwest or many other regional sports channels. The sports-centric FuboTV offers both ESPN and ROOT Sports Northwest, but does not offer Turner-owned networks such as TNT and TBS. DirecTV and Comcast’s XFinity offer all the channels in the Portland region.
YouTube TV was already a questionable value for fans who watch the Blazers, due to their lack of access to ROOT Sports. Friday’s events now further reduce the number of games available on the provider.
To review your viewing options for the Blazers, you can visit our guide.