In a downward spiral that’s quickly resembling what happened to GolTV and how they were practically wiped off the map by the largest TV distributors in the United States, beIN SPORTS is in danger of becoming a niche broadcaster after DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse this week removed them from their channel lineups. The news comes on the heels of Comcast Xfinity dropping beIN SPORTS almost one month ago with no apparent resolution on the horizon.
Prior to the beIN SPORTS channels being removed from these TV providers, the English-language beIN SPORTS channel was in approximately 22 million homes in the United States. But given the double blow of beIN SPORTS being removed from the number one satellite TV provider (DIRECTV) and number one cable TV provider (Comcast Xfinity), estimates are that beIN SPORTS is now in under 10 million homes nationwide.
The dramatic developments and the lack of distribution could bring beIN SPORTS down to their knees, hurting ad sales and significantly cutting the amount of revenue the broadcaster can generate from carriage fees it accumulates from cable and satellite TV subscribers.
Just like beIN SPORTS’ disagreements with Verizon Fios and Xfinity, the broadcaster is coming to blows with DIRECTV and AT&T U-Verse over carriage fees. According to beIN SPORTS, their proposed carriage fees increases “are entirely reasonable and in line with the agreements it has already secured with other distributors within the marketplace.” AT&T obviously disagrees.
As a result, neither beIN SPORTS nor beIN SPORTS en Espanol are available via DIRECTV or U-Verse in addition to the previously mentioned Comcast Xfinity.
beIN SPORTS has every right to feel that they’ve been unfairly treated. After filing a legitimate complaint to the FCC in March where the broadcaster alleged that Comcast puts NBC Sports and NBC Universo in less expensive, more widely distributed tiers, the FCC dismissed the complaint in early August saying that “beIN Sports has failed to provide evidence sufficient to support its claim that the programming it would provide under the renewal agreement is similarly situated to the video programming provided by Comcast’s affiliated vendors, NBCSN and Universo.”
As the exclusive rights-holder to LaLiga through until the end of the 2019/2020 season in the United States, beIN SPORTS televises arguably the most attractive soccer league in the world. In addition to having the rights to Ligue 1 and the Turkish Super Lig, the broadcaster has a strong foundation of soccer TV rights as well as daily news and analysis programs.
Sports fans who want to access beIN SPORTS and are currently subscribers to DIRECTV, Comcast Xfinity and AT&T U-Verse have a few choices. One, they can cancel their subscriptions and subscribe to a different service that broadcasts beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol. The one that we recommend the most is fuboTV because it includes beIN SPORTS, beIN SPORTS en Espanol and beIN SPORTS Connect so you can access all 100% of LaLiga games. (Other legal streaming options include Sling World Sports for $10 per month, which includes beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol). Or two, you can contact your TV provider and make a complaint that you want to have beIN SPORTS reinstated.
beIN SPORTS hasn’t yet responded to World Soccer Talk’s inquiry for comment.