Watching the Portland Timbers on TV this year may have gotten just a bit easier. A source within the club confirmed today that all local Portland Timbers broadcasts will be on the local channel Fox 12 Plus. The channel is available without having to acquire a cable subscription and is able to be picked up over the air via digital antennae.
Replays of matches will be on ROOT Sports Northwest and will still remain a broadcast partner with the Timbers.
This is a change from season’s past. In previous years, Timbers games that were not broadcast by national television outlets (ESPN/ABC, or FS1/FOX) were put on either Fox 12 Plus or ROOT Sports Northwest. Viewing ROOT Sports in particular presented a challenge for many Timbers fans who did not have a cable package or took the step to cut the cord, as the channel was not available on streaming services.
In addition, some out of market Timbers fans were also out of luck when games were broadcast on ROOT. Major League Soccer’s go-to out of market streaming partner, MLS Live on ESPN+, has been the spot to find out of market matches. However, due to the regional availability of ROOT Sports Northwest, many fans who were outside of the Portland metro area were not able to view local Timbers broadcasts on ROOT, as they were subject to blackout on ESPN+. This applied mainly to fans who were in the greater Pacific Northwest — Washington state, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska — but did not have access to a cable subscription. Thus, many were unable view Timbers matches via the league-touted streaming service.
ROOT Sports was recently added as a channel for the fuboTV streaming service but now that is not a factor for Timbers fans wanting to view local broadcasts.
The move to broadcast games on Fox 12 Plus will hopefully make viewing easier for fans, both in market and out of market. The channel is easier to view and local matches on ESPN+ may not be subjected to blackouts in as widespread of an area. While having access to the channel over the antennae or acquiring access to the ESPN+ streaming service are still the only options to watch local Timbers broadcasts, moving all of them to Fox 12 Plus lowers the bar of access and will hopefully lead to more fans being able to easily view their team.