The cord cutters of the world have scored another victory. It was announced this week that streaming service fuboTV has acquired the rights to broadcast AT&T SportsNet, the home of the Rockets and Astros as well as other local sports programming, on its network. Until this week, AT&T SportsNet remained one of the lone holdouts in securing a streaming deal meaning if you wanted to watch the Rockets and Astros — their non-national games anyway — you needed a cable subscription.
One of the big complaints among sports fans who wanted to get rid of cable has been the dearth of sports options. But with new streaming deals emerging for the major sports leagues as well as the increasing demand from consumers to watch programming not just when they want but where they want — raise your hand if you streamed an NFL game this year on your phone while grocery shopping — that gap is closing quickly.
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If you are an Astros and/or Rockets fan and want the option of leaving cable in the dust, you may want to wait a bit longer, however. While fuboTV seems a viable option for AT&T SportsNet and it also carries the three major local TV affiliates — KHOU, KTRK, KPRC — as well as a decent lineup of other basic cable channels, it doesn't carry ESPN. More importantly, it's essentially the same cost as basic cable.
An Xfinity starter package is $60, only $10 more per month than fuboTV for far more channels including the ESPN networks.
But the mere fact that AT&T SportsNet has a streaming home now is significant. For a lot of Houston sports fans, that was one of the few things keeping them from pursuing options beyond cable. And there is no doubt that, over the course of the next decade, the vastness of the streaming universe is going to grow, especially for sports programming.
It might not quite be time for Houston sports fans to cut the cord, but that day is getting a lot closer.