beIN SPORTS has renewed US media TV rights to LaLiga through 2024, according to several sources who confirmed the details to World Soccer Talk.
It means that the home of LaLiga in the United States will continue to be on beIN SPORTS (in English) and beIN SPORTS en Español (in Spanish) through May 2024 for what is arguably the best soccer league in the world.
beIN SPORTS originally acquired the rights to LaLiga in 2012, and then renewed the rights in 2015 through 2020. With LaLiga in the final year of its current rights deal with beIN SPORTS that was scheduled to conclude in May 2020, it was expected that LaLiga would transition to a different TV distributor because of distribution concerns (beIN SPORTS is no longer available on the two biggest TV providers in the United States, DIRECTV and Xfinity).
When it comes to business, though, global partnerships are key. And considering that beIN SPORTS has the rights to LaLiga in 17 territories around the world, it makes sense for the two partners to continue their relationship for four years until the new agreement ends at the conclusion of the 2023/24 season.
Ultimately, once the new agreement wraps up in 2024, it’ll mean 13 consecutive years of LaLiga programming on beIN SPORTS to viewers in the United States.
World Soccer Talk reached out to LaLiga and beIN SPORTS for a response to the news, but neither organization was willing to comment at this time.
The timing of today’s revelation is fortunate. This week, beIN SPORTS hired Hope Solo as its latest soccer analyst. The former US goalkeeper will be co-hosting a new show on beIN SPORTS titled Weekend Winners alongside beIN SPORTS journalist Jeremy St. Louis. The weekly show will premiere on Monday, August 19 at 7PM ET on beIN SPORTS. In addition to her tenure on Weekend Winners, Hope Solo will help kick-off the network’s coverage of the 2019-2020 LaLiga season with appearances on multiple beIN SPORTS shows, including The Soccer XTRA and The Express this weekend.
The 2019/20 season of LaLiga begins this Friday with Athletic against Barcelona on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español.
What does this mean for LaLiga and beIN SPORTS?
Analysis by Christopher Harris, Soccer media analyst
Prior to revealing the breaking news of LaLiga continuing its relationship with beIN SPORTS for another four years, the safe money bet would have been on LaLiga moving to a different broadcaster in the United States.
But out of all of the territories around the globe, the U.S. is one of the most complex and difficult to break into. With so much traditional American sports programming on television, it’s difficult for soccer leagues to find time slots on big American broadcast channels. On FOX Sports, the Bundesliga has to persevere with big games being featured on FS2 when NASCAR or other sports are contractually shown on FS1. Serie A has one game a week on television (typically on ESPN2 or ESPNEWS) while the remainder of games are on ESPN+. NBC Sports broadcasts more club soccer than most of its competitors but they don’t have many time slots available if they decided to add another league to its portfolio.
That leaves LaLiga with beIN SPORTS, a sports TV network that will guarantee the Spanish league will be the flagship property on both its English-language and Spanish-language channels. On beIN SPORTS, there aren’t college football, NASCAR, golf or college basketball games getting in the way of LaLiga matches.
Plus, remember that beIN SPORTS is a key global partner for LaLiga. beIN SPORTS has had a bad rap in the United States mainly due to distribution issues. But globally, beIN SPORTS is a big player in world sports particularly the Spanish top-flight league. It’s very likely that the U.S. was one important element in a massive media rights deal that would have included many territories globally. And if you’ve been watching beIN SPORTS lately, you will have been reminded several times that beIN SPORTS is now positioning itself as “the biggest sports network in the world.”
Having said that, beIN SPORTS certainly needs to find a way to get back on DIRECTV. AT&T drives a hard bargain, but with the Spanish league committing to beIN SPORTS for the next four years, DIRECTV will have to seriously consider bringing beIN SPORTS back to its programming in order to be competitive with other TV options available to consumers. Comcast Xfinity is another story.
At the end of the day, what will be interesting to watch is whether LaLiga can find a way to sublicense a limited number of games to other broadcasters in the United States this season. beIN SPORTS will be the home of LaLiga, but it could be in the TV network’s best interests to allow LaLiga to broadcast roughly two games per week on ESPN, FOX or another broadcast network. This will increase awareness of beIN SPORTS’ complete coverage of the league. And, at the same time, will help grow the popularity of LaLiga in this country.
For more insight and analysis about the soccer media industry, listen to the World Soccer Talk Podcast every Thursday, which is available via this web site and Spotify, Pandora mobile app, Stitcher, Google Play, iTunes, TuneIn, Overcast, Soundcloud, Spreaker, YouTube and Audioboom.