beIn Sport Acquires Rights For US Away World Cup Qualifiers

US at Jamaica on Sept 7

United States Men’s National Team fans, if you haven’t had a reason to lobby your local carrier for the new beIn Sport network, you just might have one now.

The rumors I spoke of on this week’s MLSTalk Podcast have come to fruition, and beIn Sport has acquired the rights to the upcoming away fixtures for the USMNT, starting with September’s match in Kingston, Jamaica.

From the release:

“By securing these exclusive TV rights, beIN SPORT again shows why it’s the place for U.S. fans to be in the best soccer action in the world,” said Yousef Al Obaidly, managing director of beIN SPORT.  “Fans can now cheer on the U.S. men’s team as they compete on the world stage, and they can see it only on beIN SPORT.”

beIn Sport has already been added to DirecTV and Dish Network on their respective sports tiers, and a recent tweet from the Comcast Cares account suggests that the newcomer, a subsidiary of al Jazeera, is close to a carriage agreement with the cable giant. While owning the US distribution rights for Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and France’s Ligue 1 was already enough to get the satellite providers on board, nabbing the rights to important World Cup qualification matches may convince large land-based carriers that beIn Sport is committed to offering a high-quality product that many will watch.

One of the highlights of this news in my book is the possibility that Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson could be providing the play-by-play of these qualifiers. They have honed their partnership through many La Liga matches at GolTV, and now they could very well be commentating pivotal matches for the USMNT.

The release also indicates that beInSport will commit to airing matches from the Fourth Round, also known as the Hexagonal, should the United States advance from their Third Round Group A. [Ed. note – due to existing rights agreements, beIn Sport would not be able to broadcast a Hexagonal match at Estadio Azteca vs. Mexico. h/t Steven Goff of the Washington Post]

Additionally, the network has also gobbled up the rights to the matches of the remaining CONCACAF countries, less Mexico. We have no way of knowing how those matches will be shown, whether on their English channel or exclusively on the Spanish-language channel. There are hints that an online platform similar to FOXSoccer2Go may be in the works, but nothing concrete has been revealed.

What that means in the short term is that satellite subscribers will certainly be able to watch the Stars and Stripes in their away matches against Jamaica as well as Antigua and Barbuda. If you subscribe to one of the large cable or FIOS distributors, I would recommend bugging them regularly if you want to see these matches. Gone is the pay-per-view setup, which likely means you couldn’t even buy it as a single event if you wanted. The better news might be that there should be even less guesswork as to which soccer pub might be ponying the dough for the game – if a bar has satellite, they can almost certainly tune in to beIn Sport now.

7 thoughts on “beIn Sport Acquires Rights For US Away World Cup Qualifiers”

  1. This is a great thing. Before it was either PPV or nothing at all.
    Plus via beIN twitter they are announcing more providers soon.

  2. Initially I was pretty miffed at how shut out the U.S. market would
    be in the long run due to the beIN rights acquisitions. However, I
    have to say if anyone doesn’t have beIN, they should bother their
    provider. I have Direct TV. I can honestly say beIN’s presentation
    and production has been nothing short of excellent, imo. They’re
    not kidding when they talk about the rights to the premier leagues
    they have. They’ve showed La Liga games back to back opening
    weekend. I’m just glad I finally have the chance to catch Ligue 1
    this year as I never subscribed to Fox Sucker Plus.Hopefully they
    get picked up by other cable providers as well, including Comcast.
    It sucks to think that the only leagues for many U.S. viewers are
    EPL and MLS. GOL seems to be dedicating themselves to Mexican and
    S. American premier leagues now, too. I just wish someone would
    acquire Bundesliga from GOL TV! They’ve done a HORRIBLE job with
    their coverage! If anyone has any suggestions where I can find
    games online or channels that may carry them, please let me know! I
    need my fix! *lol*

  3. how much inventory can this network take in? On the surface this
    and recent moves look great , however they cannot show everything.

    1. This is a legitimate concern that will be played out over the course of this season.

      The thing that we tend to forget is that there are two networks in the US right now, English and Spanish. I also believe the speculation about an eventual online component (even Schoen has hinted at this thru social media).

      The thing that I like about this new player in the market is that they are, to use a poker analogy, “raising the stakes” in this game. Yes it may cause someone to depart, but it may not. My personal belief is that the current media conglomerates have undersold soccer’s place in society here in the States. The stakes haven’t been there – these other companies make bundles off traditional American sports, to an extent this could be a zero sum game for them. It’s good business to build upon your successes.

      You now have a company/country/family that is putting a huge stake in soccer, planning a World Cup in 2022. They can build success through building the market, and thus they have much more of a stake in soccer’s growth in the US…probably as much as USSF itself. The funny thing is that they will not only be putting money in their own pockets come 2022, but also in the pockets of News Corp since all growth in popularity caused by this spend on beIn and rights will only grow Fox’s viewership numbers come the Qatar WC.

      But it’s not all rosy, especially if they should successfully bid for EPL rights. Competition is good, and now you have beIn looking to push the envelope. Hopefully as their product settles in, it grows in quality and provides a healthy battle with FOX Soccer to improve their product as well. If FOX is serious about the 2018 and 2022 WC, they really need to bring the cash to the table for EPL rights – or else they may be coming back to Don Garber’s table in 2014.

  4. Ray Hudson calling the U.S national road games would be awesome!!!,
    he adds so much excitement and energy to the game, he reminds me of
    Spanish announcers that are always so charismatic with their tone
    of voice and their use of words, They call the game with high
    importance and never get off topic from the game not like other

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