ESPN YouTube Channels Go Dark

ESPN Has Not Signed on for YouTube Red (Updated)
Youtube first take.jpg

Most of ESPN’s channels on YouTube are currently dark over apparent rights issues that remain as the OTT service gets ready to launch a new subscription-based offering. 

At last check, several of ESPN's YouTube channels, including those tied to SportsNationESPN, ESPN FirstTake, His & Hers, ESPNU, The NBA on ESPN, Grantland, and ESPN Front Row, display the message: “This channel has no content.” 

According to multiple reports, YouTube said Disney has signed on for YouTube Red, a  $9.99 per month service slated to launch on October 28, but ESPN is not on board yet “due to rights and legal issues.”  

Update: ESPN issued the following statement Friday afternoon: “ESPN is not currently part of the Red service. Content previously available on the free YouTube service will be available across ESPN digital properties.”

YouTube told Gizmodo that the “overwhelming majority of our partners, representing nearly 99-percent of the content watched on YouTube, have signed up” for the new subscription service, but added that “Videos of partners who don’t update their terms will be made private, but we remain committed to working closely with these partners with the goal of bringing them on board.”

The report adds that YouTube content creators currently get 55% of the advertising revenue on the free platform, and will give YouTube Red partners “a majority of the subscription revenue they bring in.”