A contract dispute between Fox and Roku might force millions to find another way to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The broadcaster and the streaming device manufacturer have a distribution agreement that puts seven Fox channels on Roku devices. It expires tonight, and the two sides appear to be far apart in negotiations for a new one. If they don’t strike a deal, Fox channels will disappear from Roku devices later tonight.
One of them, Fox Sports, is the streaming home of Super Bowl LIV. Uh-oh.
Roku says that it will be “forced to remove the channels” unless a deal is struck. Fox fired back that Roku is choosing to take down the channels, calling its tactics “a poorly timed negotiating ploy, fabricating a crisis with no thought for the alarm it generated among its own customers.” Fox has also removed references to Roku from its Super Bowl website, according to The Verge.
Of course, if you were one of the millions of people who were planning on streaming the game using the Fox Sports Roku channel, your main concern isn’t which giant company is at fault. It’s figuring out how to watch the game in two days. Thankfully, there are plenty of other options.
Live TV streaming services like FuboTV, Hulu+ Live TV, SlingTV, and YouTube TV all still have active Roku channels, and because they all include Fox you can still use your Roku to stream the game if you’re a subscriber. If you’re not, they all offer free trials that will last beyond the weekend.
Another option is using an over-the-air antenna to watch the game the old-fashioned way: sans internet. You can still pick an HD signal, but beware: If you live in a place with iffy reception or bad weather you might miss at least part of the game.
Hopefully, Fox and Roku make up and this is all a moot point. But it doesn’t seem likely, and the smart move is to make sure you have a backup plan before gameday.