Two months ago, EPL Talk exclusively revealed that Al Jazeera was getting into the US soccer TV market with the acquisition of rights to La Liga beginning with the 2012-13 season. We later revealed how they also picked up TV rights to Serie A and Ligue Un, as well as how Al Jazeera was planning on spending big in the US TV rights market to capture more leads. Plus, that the network was going to be named beIn Sport.
Now finally we have confirmation of the news from an article about Al Jazeera’s plans, published in Multichannel News.
Here’s what the article revealed:
1. beIN Sport USA will launch in August, 2012. The 2012-13 La Liga season begins on August 19. The Serie A season may kick off on that same date, which doesn’t leave much time for subscribers to sign up for beIN Sport in time for the new season.
2. There will be two soccer channels for beIn Sport — beIn Sport 1 and beIn Sport 2.
3. According to Multichannel News, two distribution deals for beIN Sport USA 1 and 2 have already been signed, and Imagina U.S. is hinting that viewers may have to “switch providers” in order to watch La Liga next season. That could mean that you may need to sign up with DISH Network, as an example, to see La Liga and/or Serie A next season.
4. beIN Sport has acquired the Ligue Un rights in English-language only.
5. Importantly, it appears that beIn Sport has no plans to sublicense the rights it has obtained in the U.S. whatsoever. What this means is that soccer fans may be faced this summer with a “switch to DISH Network (or similar TV provider) for the only way to watch La Liga and Serie A TV rights.” No word on plans by beIN Sport for availability of games via the Internet, as of press time.
While the above news may be worrying for fans of La Liga and Serie A, the big question for readers of this blog is whether Al Jazeera (aka beIN Sport) plans on bidding for TV and Internet rights to the Premier League this spring/summer for season 2013-2016. If it does, it could get into a bidding war with FOX and ESPN to try to win the rights.