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Serie A Coverage in US Suffers Due to beIN SPORT Giving Higher Priority to La Liga & Ligue Un

beIN SPORT logo Serie A Coverage in US Suffers Due to beIN SPORT Giving Higher Priority to La Liga & Ligue Un

Juventus took another step towards making the remainder of Serie A’s season, largely meaningless in terms of the title race, with a decisive 3-0 victory over their nearest title rivals AS Roma on Sunday. The match was competitive for the first half as Roma dominated possession and created a few scoring opportunities. But in the second half, Juventus pulled away.

After the match the American audience on beIN SPORT was treated to another replay of a friendly that had taken place days earlier rather than any significant post-match analysis.

The top of the table clash should have received more buildup from beIN SPORT, the Serie A rights holder for American television, but it did not. With no live soccer on during the two o’clock EST hour, BeIN SPORT choose to show a condensed replay of a La Liga match rather than a proper pre-game show for the biggest match of the season in Italy. Following this, beIN SPORT had a ten minute pre-game show hosted by Terri Leigh, which did little more than set up the team sheets for both sides. For American audiences spoiled by NBC’s extensive pre-match coverage of Premier League games, even including the likes of Crystal Palace and Fulham, beIN SPORT seemingly indifference to a match of this magnitude was shocking.

The focus of the network during the Christmas/New Year break appeared to be focused on promoting a friendly between PSG and Real Madrid in Qatar. Keep in mind that beIN SPORT is owned by Qatari interests, as is PSG. So it is understandable the need for the network to promote the friendly, but it was still a disappointment to see how little promotion on the network the Juve-Roma match got compared to big Spanish league games or even matches involving PSG or Monaco.

View: US TV and Internet schedules for Serie A, La Liga, Ligue Un and the Championship.

During the winter break, beIN Sport missed several opportunities to show live English Championship matches. And upon return of the leagues this weekend, their studio programs were more focused on Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona. While Serie A boasts a smaller following in the United States than La Liga does, the network has done little if anything to nurture and grow that following.

While AS Roma has American ownership, an American chief executive and arguably the best American player on the side, little effort has been made by the network to promote the club to the US audience. The club could grow into a major player in the US market if the Serie A television partner saw the opportunity and seized it. However, the network has been more interested in riding La Liga’s two major clubs and PSG rather than making the effort to grow the support of a club that might connect to audiences BeIN SPORT’s other properties do not.

BeIN SPORT has done an excellent job of covering La Liga, giving the Spanish league much more intensive and analytical coverage than it previously had on GolTV and ESPN2. However, the network’s coverage of Serie A has now for two seasons been worse than FOX’s coverage was. If BeIN SPORT’s commitment to cover the Italian top flight is as bad as it appears to the outside viewer, perhaps the league would be best served moving to another American television partner when its current deal expires.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

20 Responses to Serie A Coverage in US Suffers Due to beIN SPORT Giving Higher Priority to La Liga & Ligue Un

  1. krazymunky says:

    Last season they didnt even have a Championship section on their website. and rarely had any games live…

    This saturday.

    7am ‘Hip Hop Abs’ instead of showing a live game.

  2. cnl.onions says:

    They’re also too lazy to wake up early to show the 6:30 am games live and are buying rights to tennis tournaments and motorbiking. It’s been pretty bad for soccer fans and a bit headscratching that they decided to put in a bid for the Championship. It would be fine if they had 2 English channels, but there’s only one.

    It overall feels like a poor product because of their decisionmaking. For instance, I can’t even watch a Bodo Illgner color commentated match because of his poor command of the English language and lack of awareness for what a color commentator should even be doing. NBC is schooling them and they are seemingly rookies in the sport?

  3. Mysterious J says:

    Don’t forget they have also made it impossible for much of the country to see the Bundesliga on TV as well, although Phil Schoen swears it is a COINCIDENCE that GolTV was dropped from most systems when beIN was added.

  4. jor says:

    I wish I could complain about the coverage but Cablevision doesn’t carry it at all.

  5. Cantona says:

    BeIn Sport(s) as it now known could easily fix this and just port over there programming from Al Jazeera Sport which has been rebranded BeIn Sports direct from the Middle East. The managing director Antonio Briceno (former executive of Imagina – which oversaw Goltv productions) is pulling all the strings right now.. And doin a terrible job as he did in his Goltv days. Somehow he has convinced the sheik he is th le right man. The sheik obviously wanted the channel up ASAP and just ported over management and talent from Goltv. The WRONG decision.

    He runs BeIn like a cable access channel… No early games since the production teams aren’t there, poor match selections, disregarding some leagues altogether (Russian,Championship) and then making us endure there in house talent for commentary instead of the guys pitch side.

    the locker room is not any better than anything Fox has except for the Miami visiting celebrity footballer of the week..

    BeIn could be so so much more… Finding streams of Bein Middle East and comparing them to its US cousin is like comparing Martin Tyler to Gus Johnson. beIn has all the talent and great punditry that any football could ever want…. To bad it’s in the Middle East only

    Cantona—

  6. Cantona says:

    Good read Kartik.. Great couple of articles on BeIn and Fox!!

    Cantona—

  7. Paul says:

    This is purely down to the people who pull the strings at the US headquarters because the MENA coverage is great – they even have one of their channels (beIN SPORTS 3HD) dedicated to Serie A coverage, with every match of the season being shown live too. It’s a shame the good work they’re doing in other parts of the world is being tarnished by a poor US version of the channel.

  8. Proud Eurosnob says:

    I saw this coming as soon as I’ve first learned of beIN Sport. Since most European leagues stage their matches concurrently, I knew it was a tall order to provide equitable coverage between La Liga, Ligue Un, and Serie A without having multiple channels just so most matches would be featured when they’re live.

    A more equitable solution would be for beIN Sport to have its own version of Extra Time. The online version doesn’t suffice when one has a significantly larger HDTV for lifelike display.

  9. Flooz R Us says:

    Alleged offers for U.S. rights to Serie A:

    beIN: $28M/yr

    FOX: $6M/yr

    Until another meglomaniac with more money than common sense is willing to bone out, or until Da Sheik turns off the tap, Serie A will be on beIN well into the next decade.

    • Paul says:

      It should also be noted that the Serie A rights are distributed by media agency MP & Silva and they seem to work very closely with Al Jazeera. If MP & Silva own the rights for a competition in a country or region that Al Jazeera operate a TV service, it seems to norm now for that competition to end up on a beIN SPORTS channel.

  10. Fernando says:

    Bein has been a massive disappointment. They are essentially, GOLTV, under another name.

    I have no idea how the logic of picking which match to air during weekends works but I am sure it’s been nothing short of head scratching.

    Is there a reason why they show motogp races when they could air a football match on Sunday’s?

    Bein has too many properties and not enough outlets, that hurts the consumer. Terrible job by Bein.

    • Paul says:

      Is there some sort of rule that stops them launching more US channels? Considering from launch they had 32 beIN channels in the Middle East and 10 in France to enable them to show everything, the US is getting a bit of a dud version in comparison.

      • Christopher Harris says:

        The US TV system makes it very difficult to add more channels. It’s a very decentralized system with TV providers such as cable and satellite companies being able to pick and choose what channels they want to show. For example, FOX Soccer Plus launched in 2010. Four years later, I’m still waiting for my cable company to offer it.

        • Paul says:

          Four years later and you still don’t have it? That’s incredible.

          I suppose that’s the downside to being such a large country – everything is so fragmented. The UK is so small in comparison, when new channels launch they go nationwide straight away – either on satellite via Sky or on cable via Virgin Media. It’s less complex than the US system – but also comes with less choice so I guess there are pros and cons to both.

          • CTBlues says:

            There isn’t that much choice in the US either you have your local cable, or phone company, and the two satellite companies which may be more than the UK but if you look at the amount of cable companies in the US you have 4 very similarly priced options.

  11. Fakey McFakerton says:

    beIN Sport currently has an embarrassment of riches. The problem it has is that it quite simply doesn’t have enough time to air everything nor is its beIN Play app widely available (though it appears to be free). As a result, the network suffers a glut of programming, and it tends to err towards La Liga over everything (including Ligue 1).

    There are a few tricks to getting the most out of beIN’s coverage. First, check to see if your provider also includes beIN Espanol (Comcast does here in the Northeast). beIN Espanol covers mostly La Liga but also airs a few Serie A games (mostly on delay). Here’s the plus (and the weird thing): the commentary is always in English, so you need not speak Spanish to follow.

    The other thing to be aware of is that beIN re-runs a lot of games during the week following. What I’ve found myself doing is just simply avoiding scores from La Liga, Serie A, and Ligue 1 until I am able to watch the games I wish to watch. I usually check beIN’s website on Wednesday nights/Thursday morning to see which games it will air that week.

  12. goisles01 says:

    I have the dishworld ap and for me beIN is gold. all the matches I can possibly want to watch. All the big matchups. highlight shows for every league. condensed matches. 8 day backup. just love it. fills most holes since my wife asked for a divorce.

    • goisles01 says:

      with Dishworld and my cable provider I can watch football live or recorded every day of the week. I cant say that about any other sport. even the big domestic leagues we have in the US. Just quality suffers from channel to channel.

  13. Toby says:

    Bein Sport is owned by the Qatar Foundation, who also own PSG in France and are chief sponsor of Barcelona. That might explain why French and Spanish football gets more coverage on their channel than Italian football.

  14. Gunner says:

    Bein Sports is really ruining the total soccer experience in the US. In the beginning we all loved the fact that they got all the rights to all this Championships but it is really horrible that its only La Liga is where their allegiance lies. Its just way too many rights for one channel, a Bein Sport 2 will go a long way to solve some of the problems and most games across Europe is played almost at the same time. The management at Bein Sport is currently doing a horrible job managing this channel. How would you explain to me putting games i want to see today LIVE for tomorrow at 12noon when I should be at work. Please give some of the rights to other networks that can do a better job. Thank you.

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