When YouTube announced its new ad-free subscription service, YouTube Red, the company said 99 percent of content seen on YouTube will remain unchanged to the end user — but ESPN appears to be part of the 1 percent that isn’t putting up with YouTube’s new terms.
As of today, major ESPN YouTube channels like Grantland, College Gameday and espnu no longer have any viewable videos. Grantland’s header image even directs users to its video website. Meanwhile, other ESPN channels like X Games and NacionESPN still have more than 1,000 videos online, but the most recent video was uploaded three weeks ago. The latest video publically available on ESPN’s main channel as of this writing is three years old.
ESPN videos are still available through ESPN’s own video player, which is in use across ESPN websites.
The new subscription service from YouTube lets paid subscribers watch every video on the site for a flat $9.99 monthly fee. YouTube said it will give content creators a majority of the revenue generated from those fees, but it’s unknown exactly how payouts will be calculated. In the advertising model, content creators got 55 percent of advertising revenue, also a majority.
YouTube said that any channels that don’t agree to the new terms of service will have all their videos taken private, likely before the Oct. 28 launch of YouTube Red. Playlists on College Gameday are full of private videos. It’s unclear if YouTube or ESPN was responsible for taking the videos down.
ESPN-owner Disney is still uploading new videos as of this writing and YouTube told Deadspin that Disney has signed on to be part of YouTube Red. However, that deal doesn’t cover ESPN’s channels. ESPN’s situation is likely complicated due to numerous rights issues from various sports leagues who hold partial control over some ESPN content, especially game clips.