YouTube TV shows repeating Little Mermaid ad instead of end of NBA playoff game

YouTube TV shows repeating Little Mermaid ad instead of end of NBA playoff game
May 2023

It was a long day at work, but it was finally Wednesday night, and Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals was here. A YouTube TV subscription lets you stream the game from TNT, and now with a little over four minutes left before the final buzzer, things were intense, with the Miami Heat up by five points. You lean in to get a better look at the action, and then you see... a commercial for the live-action Little Mermaid movie? Again, and again, and again?

That's what happened to people who relied on YouTube TV to watch last night's game. The worst part is, the game never came back online. Sports Illustrated reported that "many fans saw the same ad starting and stopping for what felt like an endless amount of time."

this was my YouTube TV screen for the last 5 minutes of the NBA game pic.twitter.com/nfX75pLrjA

YouTube's support Twitter page tweeted about the issue as it was happening, telling users that "if you have an issue watching the Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics game on TNT, we're aware of it & our team is working on a fix - thx so much for your patience!"

YouTube also highlighted an instance where people "might also experience an issue when watching content on multiple channels" on YouTube TV.

It wasn't until 4:27 am on Thursday--hours after the Heat-Celtics game ended--that YouTube TV was reportedly fixed.

update! YTV is back to normal so you should be able to enjoy your fav content without any issues now - thank you so much for understanding & find more details from here: https://t.co/I9nPbxORm4 https://t.co/tSBlq6B8ix

Google hasn't confirmed what exactly forced countless NBA fans "under the sea."

As reported by Deadline, YouTube has said that other networks besides TNT also suffered glitches, but TNT's high-profile programming heightened awareness of the issue ("YouTube TV" was trending on Twitter, Deadline noted).

Meanwhile, some NFL fans are growing concerned about YouTube TV's ability to handle the upcoming season. In December, Google landed a huge deal to get NFL Sunday Ticket on YouTube TV. This comes after years of the package living on DirectTV.

Amazon has been streaming Thursday Night Football games without much issue, as noted by Deadline. However, some viewers are still apprehensive about streaming services like YouTube TV proving reliable enough for the upcoming football season:

A total disaster. You drop channels, including MLB Network, and raise the prices for that @YouTubeTV. Brutal, just brutal. Imagine this happening during the NFL season with Sunday Ticket. Or if Peacock craps out during this NFL playoff game. https://t.co/mJkEvOkmcN

Any streaming skeptics hoping for good ol' cable or satellite to win back big sports contracts should temper expectations, though, because those businesses are visibly running out of steam. Research firm SVB MoffettNathanson recently reported that Q1 2023 saw the fewest pay-TV subscribers in the US since 1992. The only pay-TV provider whose subscriber numbers didn't drop? YouTube TV. The service gained 300,000 subscribers that quarter and that was before it started selling NFL Sunday Ticket. Streaming services are inevitably becoming more relevant to sports viewers. If only the streaming companies would hammer out those glitches before playoff time.

Oh, and for YouTube TV subscribers who never saw the end of last night's game, Miami won.