In a surprising turn of events, Roku has announced it will pull all of Fox cable channels from its platform on February 1st — a day before the Super Bowl 2020 takes place. Viewers who wish to stream the annual sporting event will have no choice other than to subscribe to a separate streaming service like Hulu where Fox is available, Roku told its customers via a mass email.
“You can still watch FOX channels through these services: FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, SlingTV, YouTube TV and other live TV services, many of which offer free trials. If you have a Roku TV, you may be able to receive FOX over the air with an antenna,” wrote Roku in the email.
The abrupt announcement especially comes as a shock since Fox had earlier stated its first-ever 4K HDR coverage of the Super Bowl will be available on a range of 4K platforms including Roku. Moments before the email was sent out, however, the entertainment conglomerate took down mentions of Roku from its websites.
In addition to Fox Sports, Roku customers will be losing direct access to Fox Now, Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Soccer, Big Ten Network, and Fox Nation.
The departure of Fox channels from Roku has stemmed from a licensing disagreement between the two companies. The Fox-Roku contract is set to expire on February 1st and the companies have seemingly been in conflict over the extension’s terms.
Roku, in a statement, said it offered Fox an extension but unless they reach an agreement, it will be forced to remove the channels.
Fox, on the other hand, claims Roku is trying to force its hand days before the Super Bowl. “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,” it stated in a statement to The Verge.
It’s still likely Fox and Roku may reach a last-minute deal and allow customers to watch the Super Bowl 2020 in 4K HDR. Until then, if you’re a Roku user, you will have to look elsewhere for Fox content.