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.
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.