• Roku is removing all stand-alone Fox channels from the Roku store.
• This includes Fox Sports, so no free streaming of the Super Bowl on Roku.
• Roku claims this is result of expiring distribution contract.
Roku and Fox are making the wrong kind of news as Super Bowl weekend arrives, and leaving fans and users looking for last-minute options.
Roku is removing the stand-alone Fox channels from the Roku channel Store. This includes the popular Fox Sports, Fox News, and Fox Now channel apps. The channels already are gone from search results on Roku devices.
This is really bad timing for this to happen, especially for Roku owners who were expecting to stream the Super Bowl. Fox Sports will be streaming Super Bowl LIV online for free, but now Roku owners won't have the channel app to watch it. Fox Sports has already removed references to Roku devices from their Super Bowl LIV website.
Find another way to watch the Super Bowl online & without cable
The official Roku Support account on Twitter confirmed the move and offered an explanation. In a reply to a question from another user, it said the removal of the Fox channels happened because their "distribution contract with FOX Corp is set to expire on Jan. 31".
Our distribution contract with FOX Corp is set to expire on Jan. 31 so FOX channels were removed from the Roku Channel Store. You can view FOX programming including the big game through Fubo, Sling, Hulu Live, YouTube TV and other ways. Many of these services offer a free trial. — Roku Support (@RokuSupport) January 31, 2020 January 31, 2020
This isn't the first time this month that Roku has been forced to remove a high-profile channel. At the beginning of January, Roku lost the AT&T TV app from any new installs on the Channel Store. Users who had that app installed previously could continue to use it, but it has still been a bad look.
These situations aren't for either company, but there is usually plenty of blame to go around to all involved. Fox wants as many streams as possible for their Super Bowl numbers, so changing things on customers with days to go won't help them. Roku doesn't want users to have to go out and buy another device just for the Super Bowl, because if they like it then they may not come back.
Roku devices previously had been announced as supporting 4K HDR streaming of the Super Bowl for free from Fox Sports. Now, only Amazon Fire TV devices are listed by Fox as supporting their 4K HDR Super Bowl online. Apple TV 4K will carry the game in 4K with standard dynamic range in the Fox Sports app.
Roku is recommending that their users try a Live TV streaming service. A free trial from one of these services might be the Hail Mary pass football-loving Roku users need. The services being recommended for watching Super Bowl LIV on Roku include:
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Roy Delgado is a freelance writer for WhatToWatch. His focus is streaming, specializing on sports. He binge-streams 32 games over the first two days of NCAA March Madness annually. He built his own DVR 15 years ago, and still tinkers to make his media setup its best.