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beIN SPORTS out and ESPN in for Championship rights

EXCLUSIVE: In a stunning turn of events, BAMTech has acquired the US rights to the English Championship and EFL Cup, and has reached a separate agreement with ESPN to have the live and on-demand matches shown by the Worldwide Leader of Sports.

beIN SPORTS will not broadcast the 2017/18 Championship season, and has subsequently removed all of the opening EFL Championship weekend matches from their schedule.

According to an ESPN spokesperson, “Beginning August 4, as part of a separate agreement ESPN reached with BAMTech, ESPN will have live and replay coverage of weekly matches from the EFL. Currently, the plan is for the matches to be carried on ESPN3.”

The confusion arose last week when beIN SPORTS confirmed they were planning on broadcasting the opening weekend of the Championship across both television and their beIN SPORTS Connect streaming platform. But according to beIN SPORTS today, they were instructed to remove the EFL games from all of their schedules. Nevertheless, as of press time, beIN SPORTS’ own website still has Championship listings on their TV guide for this upcoming weekend, which undoubtedly will be updated shortly.

BAMTech is a streaming technology provider that is part owned by MLB, Disney (parent company of ESPN) and the NHL. The technology provider was recently in the news when it was revealed that they bid on the rights for the UEFA Champions League but were beaten by Turner Sports.

An added complexity for the 2017/18 season is that the vast majority of clubs have signed up on a club-by-club basis to offer legal streams of every home and away league game to viewers around the world (outside of the United Kingdom and Ireland). The streaming service, named iFollow, will feature all of the league games for each participating club except for those games that are streamed by ESPN3 in the United States.

To navigate through all of the changes, we recommend that you visit our Championship TV/streaming schedule for viewers in the USA, which will be updated weekly throughout the season with all of the links and TV details to view the matches.

As an example, a Nottingham Forest supporter can sign up for a season pass to iFollow Forest for $140 for the entire season, which will allow him or her to stream every home and away league match during the season. Note, however, that if games are available via ESPN3, they will be blacked out from iFollow, so you’ll need to ensure you have a subscription to a package that includes iFollow and ESPN3 for the Forest games that are shown there.

Several clubs (Birmingham City, Bristol City, Derby County, Fulham, Hull City, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, QPR, Sunderland and Wolves) have decided, as of press time, not to sign up to the iFollow service. If your club is one of those, you’ll need to check with their official club website to see if they’re planning on providing their own streaming service for international subscribers.

For the upcoming season, the Championship will feature several well-supported teams including Aston Villa, Leeds United, Sheffield Wednesday, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Middlesbrough and Sunderland. Read our beginners guide to the Championship for more details on one of the most competitive leagues in the world.

Last but not least, it’s anticipated that DAZN will be announced as the rights-holder of EFL Championship games in Canada. DAZN, part of the Perform empire, has seen success as a streaming platform in Germany and Japan. DAZN, pronounced “Da zone,” hopes to become the Netflix of soccer.

Additional reporting by Ed Perovic.

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  1. jim

    May 23, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Does BAMTech owns the U.S. tv rights for the Championship past the 17/18 season as a result of this deal?

    • Christopher Harris

      May 23, 2018 at 12:11 pm

      Yes, I believe it was a multi-year deal. Select games will be on ESPN+ — usually 2-3 every weekend.

  2. alagbe adeola r.

    September 20, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Well done ESPN.
    How can we get to view ESPN3 in Nigeria.?
    Where can make payment for subscription& get ur decoder.
    We can’t watch EFL Cup (carabao cup) now.
    DSTV do not have the right to air the matches this season 17/18

  3. NaBUru38

    September 14, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    EFL midweek games would have even lower U.S. ratings than the UEFA Europa League.

  4. Paul

    September 14, 2017 at 9:18 am

    The EFL have signed a new TV deal with Sky Sports which will begin 2019/20. Included in this new deal is live broadcast of a number of midweek games, which could mean these live games being broadcast in the US

  5. Daz

    August 9, 2017 at 1:21 am

    In Australia, we are all sick and bloody tired of being screwed! No EFL due to Bein losing the rights, no EPL due to Foxtel losing the rights, we don’t get ESPN 3, what are we left with? 1 bloody game a week on free to air. I’m fed up with it, what a dogs breakfast! We have zero subscription alternatives, even the stream from the club service is poor! Why can’t we get ESPN3 in Australia?

    • Nathan

      August 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      You can get ESPN3 in Australia which is called ‘Watch ESPN’

      • Oliver Tse

        September 14, 2017 at 3:31 pm

        WatchESPN Australia has a different lineup of live events compared to WatchESPN USA.

        BAMTECH has rights to the EFL in the USA only.

        • FAKE INSIDER

          September 15, 2017 at 9:35 am

          But do they have a Plexiglas desk is the question Tse? Remember we had lunch back in 1995 at the strip club and discussed Plexiglas contracts?

  6. Stuart

    August 5, 2017 at 6:14 am

    Any idea if EFL coverage will apply to Australia? There was no airing of the Sunderland v Derby game and nothing showing up in the TV guide for this weekend. Very disappointing for BeIN sports to have lost the rights.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 5, 2017 at 9:06 am

      EFL rights in Australia are still under negotiation, so no news to report there until a deal is done.

      • Alagbe Adeola R.

        September 21, 2017 at 5:36 am

        Alagbe Adeola R. SEPTEMBER 21, 2017
        Well done ESPN.
        How can we get to view ESPN3 in Nigeria (Africa)
        Where can make payment for subscription& get ur decoder.
        We can’t watch EFL Cup (carabao cup) now.
        DSTV do not have the right to air the matches this season 17/18
        Thank you.

  7. LukeK

    August 5, 2017 at 12:13 am

    I’m so disappointed to hear this but knew something was up when I didn’t see any games on bein listed on the livesoccertv app. Whoever said bein was overconfident of retaining the rights is correct. Espn pulled off a real coup here. However, they didn’t put up the money to retain the EPL rights a few years ago but it would be amazing if these games were shown on espn or espn2. For now, looks like I’ll be watching more of Ligue 1 and La Liga after EPL matches.

  8. Brendan Soraghan

    August 4, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Was great to watch it on Roku beautiful color. . Jon Champion brilliant commentor . Wish they had a bit of introduction about the league and proper analyzes of it . A highlight show on Monday would be helpful . 2 games tomorrow & 1 on Sunday not bad for the first few days

  9. Will

    August 4, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    I watched the Sunderland-Derby game on my Apple TV. With the ESPN app, If they are going to keep streaming the games with 60fps. Then I’m all for this move from bein to ESPN.

    Good stuff so far.

  10. Scott

    August 4, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Was curious if there is a replay option on Sling for ESPN3 matches? I know they had replays for bein sports on Sling, but worried that we’ll only be able to watch Championship matches live on ESPN3.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 4, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Replays aren’t available for ESPN3 through Sling Orange unfortunately.

    • Timm

      August 5, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      Sling users can sign into the watchESPN app using their Sling credentials, which allows replay watching. Just watched this morning’s Fulham v. Norwich match. Absolutely loving the 60fps. This makes such a difference. No nasty comet trail when the ball is played long.

  11. leafsfan1967

    August 4, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    First game of the season just started on ESPN3. No pregame show just went live to the stadium with the teams in the tunnel. It’s one of the Skysports people doing the commentary.

    • Emmett

      August 4, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      That would be Jon Champion! I think he’s the best soccer announcer anywhere right now. I’m surprised he does EFL games too.

      Audio is a solid 3 seconds behind the picture – so not a great start. I assume that’s the responsibility of whoever the international producer is though.

  12. Steve

    August 4, 2017 at 2:56 am

    Well in Australia we don’t get espn3 so I suppose that’s the end of Foxtel 1st they lose epl now the efl . What a farce

  13. Rob

    August 4, 2017 at 1:01 am

    i guess we can expect to see regular updates on the Championship on the. ESPNFC show. Also how soon before they starting showing the midweeks matches on TV? It would not going up against much.

  14. Brendan Soraghan

    August 3, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    what about the SKY BET highlight show that used to air on Monday nights

  15. Ben

    August 3, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    At least the games that were gonna be shown on bein is now on ESPN3. I like it at least I can look at the replays of the games during the week!

  16. Mick

    August 3, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Any word if the EFL Highlights show will also be shown by ESPN each week?

  17. Todd

    August 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong but ESPN3 is all streaming, and I won’t actually be able to watch any of this on my TV as I was previously able to via BeInSports, I don’t see this as an upgrade in any way at all.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 3, 2017 at 5:21 pm

      Correct but you can always cast your ESPN3 broadcast from your laptop, smartphone or tablet to your TV. Or, better yet, watch ESPN3 via the app on an Apple TV, Roku or Amazon Fire to watch it on your TV.

      • Randolph

        August 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

        Yeah, I think this is a way better scenario. The BeINConnect app can be buggy as hell at times. But ESPN3 via chromecast/Roku/apple tv works great. Also, no ones mentioned the fact that with Championship matches on ESPN3, you can replay whenever you want. So you potentially have a whole Saturday of English football- watch the Premier League live on NBC then catch up on Championship on ESPN3 replays.
        Question is, are the same number of EFL matches to be shown on ESPN3 as were to be shown on BeIN Sports?

      • Todd

        August 4, 2017 at 4:45 am

        Primarily what I am frustrated with is that now I’ll have to watch matches live if I want to see them, I won’t be able to DVR the matches and then watch them at my leisure.

        • MDFootball

          August 4, 2017 at 7:28 am

          If you go into the Watch ESPN app and select ESPN FC along the top row, it takes you to a listing of live games but there is also a Replay tab that lists previously aired games from the past 5 or 6 days so you have the option to watch a replay for several days.

    • Tony

      August 9, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Mate the whole situation is just a dogs breakfast.foxtel in Australia are just pathetic.we can’t even watch the epl live and we pay top dollar for repeats and endless sick of it.

  18. Barnsley Fan In Minnie

    August 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    As a life long Barnsley fan ( I was born there) If it’s true, that’s great news. I have espn via my Xbox and can access from work too. Its about time we had more proper football to watch over here in the states. It also saves me money too after paying for comcast to show premiership games.

  19. DN10

    August 3, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    What happened to the deal with beIN? Was it premature? Did someone backout?

    • Christopher Harris

      August 3, 2017 at 3:12 pm

      Either beIN SPORTS were overly confident in winning the rights or they published the Championship TV schedule on their website prematurely before completing the deal to win the rights.

  20. Nosferatu

    August 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    It’ll be especially nice to have those mid-week afternoon EFL Cup games available on demand on ESPN3. That alone makes this deal a winner for most fans compared to the way things worked with beIN.

  21. MAHLUF

    August 3, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I wish NBC would have paid for the rights to the Championship and offered that league as part of the Premier League Pass package. They could have shown all the Championship matches on NBC Sports Gold and then had the playoffs and Final on NBC or NBCSN. I would have paid more than $50 for that as well as the 130 PL matches being offered. Anyone know when they will announce how/when we can buy this package and what shows will be included?

    • Eddie

      August 3, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      finally for saying nbc sports and i hope nbc sports gets all the uk soccer deal like fa cup, epl soccer,the supercupof uk , and other soccer rights

  22. Paul

    August 3, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Great news, at least for me. I have ESPN already and don’t have BeIN so that will save me some money. Not so good for anyone that may have just subscribed to BeIN so they could watch EFL games. I do think this could have been handled better and the deal sorted out as the previous season ended so that viewers (these are after all the people that pay the networks) could have arranged their viewing channels accordingly.

  23. NashRambler

    August 3, 2017 at 10:22 am


    I’m assuming this deal with ESPN3 will include the promotion playoffs at the end of the season, can you confirm this is correct?

    This is a good move, more people in the U.S. have access to ESPN3 than they do to beIN. beIN is available on my cable system at a more expensive rate that I’m not willing to pay. ESPN3 is available to me and to anyone with a basic cable subscription that includes ESPN.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm

      NashRambler, yes, ESPN will broadcast the promotion playoff matches at the end of the season too.

  24. Gavin

    August 3, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Any idea of the situation in Australia? I’ve got bein but we don’t have access to espn3. Absolute dogs breakfast 1 day before the season.

    • Alex

      August 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Wtf is this…. Lose EPL to optus, okay can live with that if I have championship to watch on Foxtel and now this…, Australia is only left with 1 EPL game a week to watch on free to air tv if you refuse to give in to Optus.

    • Tony

      August 9, 2017 at 9:18 am

      I’m so sick of this sh!t in Australia.cant get epl now no elf.worse than the 3rd world mate.

  25. Anthony

    August 3, 2017 at 5:44 am

    I don’t know if this is a big positive – at least beIN televised Championship games on the main TV channel occasionally. ESPN doesn’t seem to be committing to that.

  26. erk

    August 3, 2017 at 1:37 am

    Won’t be surprised if ESPN Deportes picks up the games and shows them on TV since the network has no soccer on the weekends except for some Liga MX and MLS matches. If a Mexican goes to a English Championship (which I highly doubt) they no doubt will pass the games involving them. Just this week they ended up showing a West Ham friendly that ESPN had the rights to just because of Chichairto, the match was added to their agenda in the last minute. Also expect them to show all West Ham’s EFL Cup matches as well.

  27. Oliver Tse

    August 3, 2017 at 1:35 am


    Wondering why the EFL would have second thoughts on doing “private banking” with Nasser and Youssef…

    Serie A should be very nervous right now, as its deal with beIN for rights in the U.S. and Canada has only 1 season left.

    Ligue 1’s deal with beIN for rights in the U.S. and Canada only has 1 season left as well.

    I have always believed that beIN Sports USA LLC has a finite expiration date, somewhere around December 2022, or possibly sooner.

    • Charles

      August 3, 2017 at 8:20 am

      I think it is BeIn that should be nervous. Cord-cutting and OTT are rapidly growing while cable/satellite is shrinking. On top of that, they are losing out to a platform that has other popular offerings, which makes it more compelling to the average American sports consumer. Finally, platform for streaming is inferior to BAMTech, and on top of that, ESPN will likely be a winner when it comes to the sea change of the end of net neutrality.

      I can see La Liga going the same way as soon as they have the chance.

      • Ed

        August 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

        In some respects, beIN has been ahead of the curve when it comes to cord-cutters. They have made themselves available on FuboTV, Sling, Playstation VUE (no longer), Roku Apps, etc. fairly early on. I have heard from more people deciding on a service based on if they have beINSport than any other channel (this, of course, is due to LaLiga alone and I DO live in a soccer-centric world).

        If anything dooms beINSport it will be the incessant technical difficulties and lack of On-Demand features on their CONNECT service. The truth is, as long as they can keep La Liga, they will survive in the US. But I am a bit dismayed by the lack attention the technological side of CONNECT is getting. They need to revamp it. There is nothing wrong with “copying” a successful service already in place and that service is called ESPNWatch.

        • DN10

          August 4, 2017 at 8:13 am

          Connect is so hard to use for beIn. They also need an updated app and an AppleTV app would be nice.

  28. garwilly

    August 3, 2017 at 12:32 am

    I have no interest in junky second division football!

    • Your_dad

      August 3, 2017 at 3:59 am

      You get a big L get that stuff out of here

    • LufcO129

      August 3, 2017 at 5:49 am

      I will have you know good sir, that the ‘junky second division football’ as you so graciously put it, is one of the most competitive leagues and the fourth most watched league in the world. In fact, there are more traditional historic English ‘big clubs’ in the Championship than the Premier League these days.

      For example, Leeds United (3x first division winners including in the last season before it was re-named the Premier League) and rightful 1975 European Cup winner), Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Sunderland, Derby County, Wolves, Norwich, Blackburn (won the Premier League in 1995 and got relegated to the third division last season) and Preston North End (first ‘big club’ in the history of ‘soccer’) are all currently stuck in the division.

      All of those clubs listed, especially the likes of Leeds, Wednesday, Forest and Preston are all bigger than current Premier League clubs such as Huddersfield (who are sure to be relegated), Swansea, Brighton, Burnley, Bournemouth, Stoke, West Brom, Watford, Southampton, Crystal Palace and even Manchester City (before the oil barrens took over).

      As well as this, I would encourage any American ‘soccer’ fan to watch the Championship as it is very different from Premier League football, more traditional with a larger physical aspect to the game. This is the reason many promoted clubs struggle to do well in the Premier League. It is also largely untarnished by the excessive spending that is found in the Premier League, with the football economy bound to collapse as a result of it at some point.

      Therefore, if you want to watch a more authentic and real version of the game, with more historic clubs and loyal fans (look at the difference in fan bases between fierce rivals Leeds United and Manchester Untied as a prime example. Leeds go from Champions League semi finalists to third division football in the space of a few seasons and still attract vast numbers of fans and sell out away allocations in minutes. Man U on the other hand, finish 6th a couple times and their home fans are now mainly tourists and many of their glory supporting fans have switched allegiance to Man City, Chelsea or even Leicester (only for the season they won the Premier League that is)) then the Championship is perfect viewing.

      Sorry for the essay, but it’s imperative that brand awareness of the Championship is raised in the US of A.

    • Barnsley Fan In Minnie

      August 3, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Don’t bother wasting your time on here then. Go watch girls rugby

    • Scott Whitt

      August 4, 2017 at 10:33 pm

      Then why did you read the article and feel the need to comment? Go away.

  29. Ryan

    August 2, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    Wow I would love to know the back story of what is going on Christopher. I think this is a plus as ESPN3 is way way more reliable than BeIN Sports Connect. I watched the Fulham vs West Ham preseason game on there with no interruptions. No announcers either which was weird but good feed.

    • Christopher Harris

      August 2, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      You read my mind on this one, Ryan. Kartik and I will be discussing the back story on Thursday’s edition of the World Soccer Talk Podcast, where we share more details on how the story developed.

      • Kartik Krishnaiyer

        August 2, 2017 at 11:44 pm

        Yep as Chris can tell you we spent a week tracking this down. Around El Clasico Miami.

      • Ryan

        August 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

        I will be listening what time can I find it?

        • Christopher Harris

          August 3, 2017 at 1:01 pm

          In the next few hours. We just finished recording it, so I need to produce it.

  30. Ivan

    August 2, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    So, more games moving away from regular cable/satellite and on to online platforms…that appears to be the trend – a smart tv, ditch cable, then figure it out…oh, well…

    • garwilly

      August 3, 2017 at 12:37 am

      It’s not that serious, and if you have a phone, tablet, Xbox, PS, Roku, apple tv, Amazon fire stick, Android, pc & a regular TV you can get ESPN 3 unless it’s basic!

  31. Doug

    August 2, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    According to an ESPN spokesperson, “Beginning August 4, as part of a separate agreement ESPN reached with BAMTech, ESPN will have live and replay coverage of weekly matches from the EFL. Currently, the plan is for the matches to be carried on ESPN3.

    It’ll be on ESPN3.

  32. Mccort912

    August 2, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    Will be interesting to see if any matches are ever on the ESPN TV channels, maybe the cup final or playoffs?

  33. RedCard

    August 2, 2017 at 9:04 pm

    ESPN and BamTech have been talking about an over the top offering for quite some time. It would offer sports not available on linear tv as to not undercut ESPN. This sounds like something primed to be on the new service for a monthly fee, not on ESPN3 but time will tell.

  34. Emmett

    August 2, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    So would matches actually be broadcast on ESPN TV channels or ESPN3 as well? Or is it too early to tell? I’m not familiar with BAMTech.

    • Emmett

      August 2, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      Guess we have the answer for ESPN3 at least! Thanks Chris!

      In their quote, does EFL mean League 1 and League 2 as well?

      • Christopher Harris

        August 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm

        Just the Championship and EFL Cup (unless they decide to show League 1 and League 2 playoff finals next May, that could be an exception).

  35. Kirby

    August 2, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    This is incredibly confusing, especially being a QPR fan… Please keep us posted Gaffer

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