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Roku will stop offering Fox channels to users on February 1

The company has alerted its users that "standalone" Fox channels are going away, and its contract with Fox is to blame. That's bad news for Super Bowl fans.

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Without giving users a justification, Roku just announced via mass email that after January 31, 2020, all Fox "standalone" channels with no longer be available on the service's streaming boxes or TVs equipped with its software. The email states that "You can still watch FOX channels through these services: FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, SlingTV, YouTube TV and other live TV services," and goes on to add that "If you have a Roku TV, you may be able to receive FOX over the air with an antenna."

The company hasn't issued an official public statement on the change, but according to its support account on Twitter and a statement from a company spokesperson, the move is triggered by the end of its distribution contract with Fox. It appears Roku and Fox are handling their contract negotiations in public view, with users' experience hanging in the balance. It's always possible Fox and Roku could come to an 11th hour agreement.

A Roku spokesperson issued the following statement:

Roku’s distribution agreement with FOX Corp is set to expire on Jan. 31. We offered FOX an extension so that Roku can continue to bring a large and valuable audience to FOX. If an agreement is not reached, we will be forced to remove FOX channels from the Roku platform.
Meanwhile customers can view FOX programming including the big game in many other ways on the Roku platform including through Fubo, Sling TV, Hulu Live, You Tube TV and other ways. Many offer free trials for new customers.
Our discussions with Fox continue and we hope that Fox will work to reach an agreement soon.

This is obviously bad news for anyone who was planning on using their Roku device to catch the Super Bowl on February 2. Besides Fox Sports Go and Fox Now, the batch of currently available Fox channels for Roku include Fox News, Big Ten Network, Fox Business, Fox Nation, and Fox Soccer. There's also a slew of local stations offered, and based Roku's wording around the content, it sounds like it's possible those affiliates will be moving off the platform or simply no longer functioning starting in February.

As recently as Thursday, Fox was listing Roku as a partner for the Super Bowl broadcast, and a Fox spokesperson told The Verge that 4K Super Bowl streams were a possibility on Roku boxes and that "the broadcaster is pushing for them to work by kickoff time." An odd thing to say when only hours later you would be pulling your content from the devices altogether.

Fox, for its part, has removed Roku logos and mentions of Roku from its Super Bowl-related pages online. The logos remain on older, app-specific pages.

Below is the original email to users from Roku: