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.