No La Liga or Serie A In Canada: beIN SPORT’s Alienation of Canadian Viewers

As a Real Madrid supporter, the 2012-13 season was disappointing for various reasons.  The team relinquished its title to Barcelona, was knocked out for the third straight time in the Champions League semi-finals, and was torn apart by in-fighting within the dressing room.  These events were tough for any Madridista, but the worst part for me was that other than the Champions League, I was unable to watch any part of my team’s season on television.  The reason: beIN SPORT’s alienating of the Canadian soccer viewer.

beIN SPORT is approaching its second year broadcasting in North America, but the problem continues to be that Canadian viewers are left in the dark.  Throughout the last year, the response from beIN SPORT has been generic.  beIN SPORT has repeatedly responded by saying that it is in negotiations with the Canadian providers and that people should continue to pressure the networks into getting beIN SPORT added to Canadian television.  That has been the same canned response for the last year.

Enough is enough.  I am tired of being deprived of watching Real Madrid on TV.  beIN has been so vague and unresponsive that I really wonder if the network has any respect for Canadian fans.  The same generic response has worn thin and it is poor form from a network that is attempting to establish itself in a market where soccer is considered a niche sport.  I no longer want to rely on poor streams and highlight shows to get my weekly dosage of Real Madrid.

There have been rumblings that part of the delay is due to Canada’s strict broadcast laws regarding potential new networks.  While that is true, there were also reports that Al-Jazeera, the owners of beIN SPORT, could have sub-licensed its rights to an already established network to broadcast the games in Canada.  The former rights holder for La Liga, Gol TV Canada, had expressed interest in such an arrangement.  Sadly, that never came to fruition.

beIN SPORT owes Canadians an apology for its lack of communication and poor customer service.  If the network is serious about valuing Canadian viewers, it needs to communicate what it is that is delaying the network’s availability to Canadian viewers and giving us regular updates on its negotiations.  I continue to tweet the network’s Twitter feed as well as the personalities in the hope that someone will give me a better a response.

I understand that Al Jazeera bought the rights and that viewing rights for soccer change hands on a regular basis as existing networks disappear and new ones emerge.  The lack of forward planning by Al Jazeera in getting beIN SPORT into Canada is simply not acceptable.  If you purchase the rights, you should have had a plan to roll out the network in the country.  The lack of foresight has hurt Canadian fans as well as cost beIN SPORT additional revenue that could have been generated by Canadian subscribers.  Additionally, the lack of offering a beIN SPORT stream to offer a safe way of watching the games online has also been a massive oversight for the network.  I know if beIN SPORT offered the ability to subscribe to an online stream, I’d be one of the first ones there.  Even with these delays, the presence of an online stream would have at least offered us a way to watch Real Madrid, PSG, Barcelona, and Juventus to name a few.

I’ve already lost one season of not being able to follow Real Madrid and am not prepared to go another season without watching my beloved team.  I think beIN SPORT has the potential to be a successful niche network in Canada, but the owners really need to improve its image to the people it has alienated over the last year, Canadian soccer fans.  I hope that the network offers some sort of olive branch because I want to see Los Blancos recapture La Liga again.

55 thoughts on “No La Liga or Serie A In Canada: beIN SPORT’s Alienation of Canadian Viewers”

  1. don’t feel bad, I am upset that it took FIOS nearly the entire season to get it and then when they did get it, the only way to watch is to upgrade your service JUST to get beIN. I really would like to get beIN but I am not going through that hassle.

    1. there’s a way to get la liga on tv: get the roku tv device at best buy and then subscribe to haitilivenetworks for $19/month and you’ll have access to 7 channels for la liga, serie A, nba etc comments are in french and creole….

      1. The only point you make in this article is the one about BeIn sport not providing an online stream to view la liga games, and i’m pretty sure they have a good reason.
        Laying the blame entirely on them without knowing all the details is not fair.
        I am sure that when they purcheased the rights for la liga, they had a distribution plan to all the countries around the world, it doesn’t take too much brin to know that, they’re in business to make money. but may be the problem lies in the local networks, they don’t want to buy the program because they know not many people in Canada are interested in soccer and they will be losing money, and you can’t really blame them either.

      1. New York City has both beIN channels available if you have Verizon FiOS or Time Warner as one of your providers. I believe he is just referencing RCN which doesn’t carry beIN.

  2. Bein are not a good network. Poor coverage of Serie A and for some reason would rather show Moto racing rather than football on their main channel on Sunday mornings.

    When you advertise that football is your bread and butter and show something else, very poor.

  3. I am a HUGE Serie A fan. I have been requesting my cable company here in the States (Mediacom) to add the channel for a year now in HD. Still do not have it! Starting to get me very upset! I would get DirecTV but I have a line of sight issue! Really makes me angry! BeIN is a great channel but it is SO tough to get.

  4. It is the same problem in the us. No HD feed on Comcast and worse then no streaming. Comcast people and beinsport people have no idea how to run a firm. It is painful to miss seasons but be ready for more this year. No liga and aerie a and ligue1. Soccer has taken a backseat again in North America.

  5. There’s nothing worse than not being able to watch beIN Sport than actually being able to do so.

    Trust me, it’s a headache. beIN has the most inconsistent scheduling that I’ve ever seen. You quite simply never know when something is going to be on. If you go to the TV Guide on beIN’s site, frequently, it will suggest that one thing will be on only for them to show another. That was pretty much always the story with their Football Championship coverage.

    The other problem that beIN is likely to face is overload. beIN now has the rights to broadcast La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, the Russian Premier, Brazil Serie A (at least to some degree, it seems), and the Football Championship. There’s no way to do all of those leagues justice on two stations (if you get the Spanish version, as I do).

    And I won’t even mention the absence of HD…

    (First. World. Problems.)

  6. remember those days when every single big European league was on TV. Between TSN, Sportsnet, The Score, Gol Tv, TLN and Fox Soccer Canada

  7. Hockey and rush are the only good things i think canadians deserve. Yall gifted us the likes of Justin Bieber, Nickelback and Thousand Foot Krutch and i find it hard to forgive that.

    1. OK WE ALSO GAVE YOU ryan reynolds, steve nash, Shania Twain, seth rogen, william shatner, rachel mcadams, Ryan Gosling

      i apologize for the others though. including celine dion and Hayden Christensen

  8. GAFFER,

    Can you please help mitigate and resolve any of the Football issues with BeIn network.
    It would appear that the quality OF THE QUANTITY and access is an ongoing problem.
    I know you don’t speak Geordie but maybe you can contact the network and edify we poor mortals.
    Cheers mate.

  9. Memo to Jon Tsang:

    If you were planning to write seven whiny and childish paragraphs about your inability to watch your club, why didn’t it dawn on you to contact the cable and satellite providers in Canada to get their take on not carrying the channel?

    Do you honestly believe beIN would pay for the rights to any league with no intention to find distribution?

    There are two sides to this story.

    While you make several good points, your one sided attempt to lay blame is lazy – and let me say again, whiny – “journalism”.

    1. I did contact the satellite providers and they have never heard of beIN SPORT. It’s simply my opinion and that’s all. I respect what you said, but the bottom line is that it’s been a year and they are still no closer to resolving this issue than they were last year.
      My honest opinion is that when they purchased the rights, they had the US in mind and realized that Canada was included and they weren’t prepared for that.

      It’s not lazy journalism when you do research as I have done. I’m just stating my opinion and you can agree with me or disagree. No need to insult or take shots calling me whiny.

      1. I doubt the first sentence in your reply is entirely accurate.
        But had you included it in your original article, I never would have written my comment.
        Thanks for the reply and hope you get access to the channel soon.

      2. I mentioned this in an article on this site written by somebody else, but “opinion” should not be an excuse for building a poor argument.

        BeIN tells you they are trying to negotiate with the providers and providers say they have never heard of BeIN so it that means BeIN is at fault?

        Furthermore, if BeIN is in fact negotiating with the Canadian providers, sub-licensing and/or offering online streams would completely remove any leverage they have with the providers.

        These kind of negotiations happen all the time, and every time both parties attempt to place the blame with the other. Without having all the facts, and knowing what each side is asking for in the negotiations, it is impossible to know who to blame.

        As cmasia mentioned, at least outlining both sides of the argument before picking a side would have helped. You have to remember that your “honest opinion” means almost nothing with regards to this subject. That is not an insult, just the truth. If you were an insider with a canadian television/network analysis background maybe your opinion would carry more weight.

        1. Hi Brad.
          I enjoyed your comments, particularly regarding the lunacy of sub-licensing.

          The topic of this article deserves attention, but the author does no one any favors when the headline talks about the lack of 2 major leagues, yet the article talks about the lack of one team.

          Comments like “Enough is enough. I am tired of being deprived…” and “am not prepared to go another season without watching my beloved team” add nothing to what Canadians already know.

          And it still sounds whiny! :)


          1. To be fair, the article is not just for Canadians. It’s also to bring Americans up to speed on what’s happening north of the border. It’s a topic that we haven’t covered before on this site.

          2. Christopher,

            I don’t think either of us had a problem with the basic premise here. I had no idea that this was an issue.

            The issues we mentioned were with the argument that was presented. I don’t mean to insult the writer in this case, and it is more about an annoying trend I have noticed of late on this site.

            If you are not an industry expert with the relevant experience, your opinion carries very little weight on its own. If you want to write a good argument without being an expert you better have good facts to back it up.

            I generally enjoy the articles on here a lot, but as of late I have noticed more and more pieces like this where “opinion” is used as an excuse to ramble on about something without presenting facts.

            1. Personally I like the opinion pieces. Not all of them have to be backed with facts. Sometimes it’s refreshing to read soccer fans venting about a topic — and in this particular case how it’s impacting a Real Madrid fan.

          3. Brad and Cmasia,

            If you feel I researched this article poorly, you’re entitled to feel that way. All I can say is that I did do the research before I wrote the article.

            It’s my first piece for the site and I do appreciate the feedback. I will try not to talk about my own team next time. I merely was trying to convey my feelings as a fan to an actual issue for Canadian viewers. That is all.

          4. Regardless of whether I’m a media expert or fan, the fact remains that while the US has got the network and has had it for a year, Canadians have not and there is still no timeline as to when/if we will get beIN. That’s the heart of the article and it is fact that they have largely been non-responsive up until my article was published.

          5. Jon,

            1) I truly hope you take my comments as feedback rather than an insult.

            2) Don’t stop writing about your team. I thin the passion that can only truly be conveyed by writing something you really care about is great.

            3) I don’t think you researched anything poorly. I think it is just a matter of formulating your argument a little better. Don’t stop giving us your opinions, just make sure you give us a reason to feel as strongly as you do about the topic.

          6. Brad

            I do appreciate your feedback and look to use that to improve. You were constructive and in no way did I feel insulted. Thanks for taking the time to read the article and providing me with that.

          7. Another dumb ass comment you are 2 for 2. Bottom line is bein f the Canadian & US viewers for $. And they provide shit service or no service – they don’t have a plan. To not provide the service is stupid and I know that La Liga and seria a have commented that they are not happy with the situation.

  10. I appreciate everyone’s comments whether they agree or disagree. These are just my thoughts and at the end of the day, I just want to be able to get the network more accessible to the people that want it. Thanks for taking the time to read the article.

  11. Maybe it’s La Liga that should be the target of our concern.

    They should require a guarantee that rights holder provide coverage to all areas covered by rights .

    It is time to separate US and Canada into to distinct rights packkages. There is no way thatBein is going to get broadcast rights in Canada.

    La Liga should require beIN to subcontract or give up Canadian rights.

    This whole situation just hurts La Liga.

    Go Barca

    1. You know, that’s exactly who I blame. la Liga and Serie A do not care about coverage and making sure their international fans see the games. They care solely about the money.

      I don’t blame the Canadian providers because they can’t buy somethings that’s not available to them to sell. I don’t even blame BeIN because they just have money to burn and no idea how to run a global property. I blame the league and the clubs.

      For that reason alone I stopped caring about the games and watch the bundesliga and more premier league. And I’m going to boycott them for a long long time.

  12. I was thinking the same thing watts. The whole basis of my complaint was that our rights were lumped in with the US and now we have a mess. I know Gol TV has tried to engage beIN on sub-licensing the rights, but that never happened. I’ll continue to follow this and see what happens

  13. To Jon:

    I hope you don’t think you are being picked on here, because in fact, the opposite is true.

    You endeavored to write about a very important topic and you should be credited for that.

    You say you did all the research, but, sadly, your article did not get into anything specific. It was all opinion based on your understandable frustration.

    If you spoke with beIN, Bell, Rogers, or Shaw, I think we’d all love to hear their comments and logic for the lack of carriage.

    Again, it is an important topic and deserves more investigative reporting.


    1. cmasia,

      I certainly can. My first piece was meant to be an opinion and I did want my frustration expressed in that piece. I will address more neutrally on the different responses I’ve received from cable providers and expand more on what I wrote in the future. Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read and giving me feedback and advice.

  14. While I feel bad for my neighbors to the north, the adding of beIN has caused its own problems.

    When Comcast added beIN Sport they did so by dropping GolTV. As a result many US viewers, like myself, have no way to watch the Bundesliga. (Absent shady online streaming.)

    Really wish the two would just merge, or do something to help fans.

  15. As a Real Madrid supporter, I always looked forward to see my team play on the weekends: the only reason why I paid for GolTV was to watch matches from La Liga, and this was taken from us over a year ago: can these people not recognise the demmand there is in Canada for such league – GolTV’s programming has declined so much since they lost the rights to televise La Liga, really the only interesting thing they have now is the Bundesliga, which is great, but not the same – thank goodness for Sportsnet and TSN that show Permier League matches !! …. al in all, what is hapenning is GolTV, or any other channel that could potentially shoe La Liga, is loosing potential revenue: more and more of us has opted for the not so legal way of watching the Liga games, fortunately there are plenty of websites that do show them, though not in great quality, but is better than not watching them at all ……please bring back the Liga broadcast to Canada !!!

  16. Don’t forget that GolTV in Canada is owned by MLSE and MLSE is owned by Rogers and Bell. What interest would they ever have in allowing a new network on their systems when they could make more of the profit themselves through sub-leasing the games? So, don’t assume all the blame lays with BeinSport – though I agree that they have little interest in Canadian fans.

  17. Really, it’s quite easy. Thankls to BeInSport’s refusal to provide any network coverage of my two favorite leagues, (I am an AC Milan fan and my son is a Madrid fan) … we’ve turned to FREE online streaming from a number of sites and streams readily available on the interweb. HDMI out to my big sceen and problem solved. BeIn’s selfish act has turned me to the word of streaming. I would rather pay to avoid the hassle of finding a good stream and the hookups but you get used to it after a while.

    So, the bright side is that we’ve actually saved money. Then again, I do subscribe to Rai International so I get the games they show in Italian (no language barrier for us) but for games that aren’t the primary game or for La Liga .. it’s streaming to TV. I was tired of waiting for BeIn to do anything in Canada and who stopped replying to my numerous emails for updates on the issue.

  18. Last season I was able to watch Serie A on RAI International, provided through Shaw Cable. I am assuming that RAI will continue to carry it.

  19. I think we can all agree that BeIn Sport is a lost cause right now and to be honest with you, the way they’ve handled the situation I don’t even want to give them my business when they do launch in Canada.

    I think the next step is for Serie A fans in Canada (and even the USA) to put some pressure on RAI International to begin sending out an HD feed. I love RAI’s coverage of Serie A, its just the picture quality is awful and ruins any kind of viewing experience. With that being said, if RAI provided an HD feed in N. America, I know myself and many others would have no use for BeIN Sport and wouldn’t need to rely on them any longer.

    So I urge those Serie A fans out their who are subscribers or potential subscribers to send emails to the following addresses to ask RAI to send us the HD feed of their programming so we can begin enjoying Serie A once again:,

    This might go on def ears, but at this point we have nothing to lose.

  20. I relied on illegal streams for La Liga last year, and cable for Premier League and Champions League. Since then I’ve cancelled my cable. Here’s the solution I’m currently experimenting with for almost all my football: $5 per month or so to Hide My Ass, which allows me to VPN to the Middle East; and $135 for the year to Al Jazeera for an online subscription. I’m actually on a one-month ($20) plan right now and have been happy with it for the last two weeks, so will probably move to the full year (cheaper per month) plan when this month expires. Video quality is mostly very good — much better than illegal streams, minimal skipping, and an ability to rewind about 10 hours or so. And massive coverage of EPL, La Liga, Ligue 1, and presumably others. Plus other leagues that are fun to watch at times (Eredivisie). Not sure about Serie A but imagine it will be as good as the others. Unfortunately only about 2/3 broadcasts have English commentary — the rest are Arabic-only. But a small price to pay for high-quality pictures.

  21. Guys just get direct tv or dishnetwork both carry bein and ESPN in spanish show tons of games never miss my REAL or JUVE games is not expensive just you have to have a clear view of south supposed to be illegal but screw rogers and bell i had mine for over 15 years no problem

  22. I live in Canada and have dish network with Bein sport. This topic was just discussed on a Roger’s Sportnet soccer show where the biggest concern was serie A coverage which is understandable given the Spanish league is too predictable these days. Bein almost has too many properties in that they will show Barcelona vs a small team live and tape delay a Milan-Fiorentina game for examlpe. Plus because Bein owns PSG they show all there games live bumping much more attractive serie A matches to tape delay.

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