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beIN SPORTS to keep on fighting despite losing LaLiga rights

In an exclusive interview with World Soccer Talk, executives from beIN SPORTS today explained that the network will continue broadcasting in the United States with its offering of leagues and cup competitions from around the world even though it has lost its flagship property, Spain’s LaLiga, to rivals ESPN.

“This is just a very rational decision,” explained beIN SPORTS’ Managing Director for the U.S. and Canada Antonio Briceño. “It’s based on ensuring the sustainability of our presence in this market. Sometimes in business, you have to make tough decisions, and this was a difficult one. We’ve been with [LaLiga] since the beginning of this channel [in 2012], but times have changed, and we need to adapt to make sure the business stays, and that it’s not just attached to one or other rights. We’re a sports channel and we will continue to deliver a product for the fans out there with the properties that will remain that we believe are very strong.

“From my financial perspective, it was an offer that made my business P&L (profit and loss statement) look good, but it goes beyond the financials. There are many different factors that [resulted] in that decision. And yes, it was a tough decision. We believe that beIN SPORTS has been instrumental in growing the brand of LaLiga in the U.S. Actually, the fact that [LaLiga] are willing to buy back the rights from us is also due to the work we’ve done for them.”

 

World Soccer Talk asked how confident and stable beIN SPORTS is about its future in the United States.

“We are absolutely here to stay,” Briceño said. “I was one of the first ones [in 2012] that fought very hard to include those [LaLiga] rights in our portfolio. I believe we’re doing the same kind of work [for other leagues and competitions] that we did with LaLiga.

“Before beIN SPORTS, those rights were not given the proper treatment they deserved. And now with us, we’re making the brand of Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana grow. I think with Ligue 1, it’s been an extremely good property for us. We’re serving a niche of the population, that is a fact. And I think we will continue to super serve that niche in a very meaningful way. And we believe that [TV providers] will see this in the same way.”

Asked whether Ligue 1 will be featured more prominently across its array of networks next season, Briceño said, “There will be more dedication and coverage to Ligue 1, so now we’ll not have the conflict of times and content that we had up until now.”

In addition to retaining the exclusive U.S. rights to Ligue 1 through the end of the 2023/24 season, beIN SPORTS have the rights to PSG friendlies, the PSG women’s team, Coupe de la Ligue, Coupe de France, the aforementioned Copa Libertadores/Copa Sudamericana, the Turkish Super Lig, CAF Champions League, African cup competitions and NISA, as well as a host of other sports.

beIN SPORTS are not stopping there.

“We are going to continue to explore and observe what properties are out there that make sense that we can hopefully acquire,” Briceño said. “[Losing the rights to LaLiga], I think, opens up an opportunity for us to be more flexible and to look at [acquiring rights to] certain sports that are growing in this country and that are of interest to the general market population.”

Last but not least, we asked whether Briceño and beIN SPORTS regretted filing a carriage complaint with the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) against Comcast arguing that the cable provider was discriminating against beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español. Ever since then, beIN SPORTS has seemingly been fighting an uphill battle and it appears that no ground has been achieved in trying to get beIN SPORTS back on Comcast Xfinity and DirecTV.

“No, absolutely not,” Briceño said. “I will do it all over again if I have to. We believe in our subscribers and we believe our ultimate responsibility is with them. The reasons we got out of those two operators, which I respect and appreciate — and I have friends within, will remain the same. We will not budge for lower rates for no reason.”

beIN SPORTS will continue to be an important overseas partner for LaLiga, continuing to broadcast Spanish football’s top division in more than 35 countries spanning three continents across the world, including France in Europe; 11 countries in Asia Pacific, and the 24 countries of the Middle East & North Africa. beIN and LaLiga will also continue their renowned alliance and partnership on anti-piracy – where they are industry-leading – and various activations ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022.

 

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Rich

    May 21, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    By the way, Ray Hudson doesn’t appear to be leaving Bein Sports going by the way he talked on Sirius XM this week. No more listening to Ray have a naughty wee in his pants every time Messi scores.

  2. Noggin

    May 16, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Bein US put all their eggs in one basket. They branded themselves as a multi sports, multi league, bilingual channel but in reality everything was secondary to La Liga and geared to the Hispanic audience. The didn’t even focus on the whole league, but instead on fanboy coverage of Real Madrid and Barcelona. Cheesy presentation and no name punditry didn’t help either. I started watching when they launched, stopped watching when they fell off Comcast, and haven’t missed them since. This Briceno guy is delusional if he thinks they can still be a player with Ligue Un and the Turkish League. 😳

  3. JP

    May 16, 2021 at 10:03 am

    @GD, tape delay with no promotion that I’ve seen. Today’s race started at 8am, don’t know if NBC streams it live on Peacock or NBC Sports, but showing it almost half a day later (see for 5:30pm) does most people no good.
    Watched the NHL playoff game last night and didn’t see any promo for it even once.
    Understand NBCSN has EPL to show this morning, but they could’ve fit into one of their other stations and show live.
    beIN promoted the races and showed live (and had a weekly recap show)

  4. GD

    May 15, 2021 at 9:11 pm

    @JP, NBC usually shows MotoGP on tape delay on NBCSN.

    ALlso I’d imagine BeIn probably would go after some other leagues or sports to fill the hole of losing La Liga rights.

  5. Kd

    May 15, 2021 at 5:06 pm

    Could they pick up rugby rights? Not a lot of competition for top 14 rights and South African leagues…

  6. Jc

    May 15, 2021 at 9:14 am

    they should broadcast the GAA !!! And broadcast biggest games from less watched leagues like Japan , Chile , Greece and so on ! I’d love to see Pana vs olympiakos and

  7. Chris

    May 15, 2021 at 12:22 am

    BEIN Sports certainly broke out on the scene with a very nice digital platform back when streaming sports was a relatively new frontier. Sad to see La Liga go, but what can you do when facing the media giants they face. Will keep tuning in to see what is being played, but tough road ahead, that’s for sure.

  8. Mercator

    May 14, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    I don’t think Bein is done at all. Look at GolTV, Eleven or Fox Soccer Channel etc. There are a lot of niche sports channels that somehow seem to keep on going with nothing more than obscure rights. Bein still has Ligue 1, SuperLig, Copa, African cups, and a parent company with very deep pockets.

    They are down but certainly not out. I have Bein Xtra OTA where I live, and Bein parent will no doubt have some sort of viable streaming platform in the next few years. They will ride out the next few years with the money they got from La Liga, and then they may be in a position to bid for serious rights again, with OTA channels in many major markets and a proper DTC streaming app. I will also say, I’m not sure their business sense is wrong. With streaming, cordcutting, piracy… there is a very real possibility all of these other broadcasters are significantly overpaying for sports rights. It may not be a bad time to sit things out, reorganise, and then try to jump in again after 2025 when some of these trends are more played out and working business models have been identified.

    Now that they have let go of La Liga, I’m rooting for Bein to get it back together because I think it’s still far and away the biggest broadcaster in the US with a football first mentality. It’s a top quality channel, the problem has just been distribution.

  9. Turfit

    May 14, 2021 at 1:29 pm

    I have noticed the past several weeks that beIN Sports have brought back “Locker Room” to beIN EXTRA on Mondays and Fridays, they have also changed up the “Monday Night Soccer” instead of just a highlight of the 4 biggest matches, it’s now a more in-depth coverage of several matches that includes their “Coaches Corner”. I know a lot of people complain about beIN but there is a lot of good stuff that they do. They bring in new commentaries and personalities that have been able to move on to bigger and better thing. They have some of the best highlight shows on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
    I also expect Messi to sign with PSG.

  10. Scott

    May 14, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    Would be nice to see them give up Ligue Un.

  11. Guillermo Lozano

    May 14, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Bein Sports is done. Can’t survive on just Copa Libertadores, Nobody will watch the Turkish league or some others. They need to be back on Comcast and Directv to start.

  12. Blue Lou

    May 13, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    beIN has hurt the sport in this country, not helped it.

  13. JP

    May 13, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    I’ve been one of beIN’s biggest cheerleaders on here, and at a loss to think of what would realistically make them relevant after losing La Liga.
    Copa Libertadores has been a nice surprise, but can easily live without. Plus, will be able to see many of the better clubs in that competition through the Argentine and Brazilian domestic leagues once I get Paramount+ for Serie A.
    Ligue 1 has it’s moments, but barely watch it now as it is.
    Turkish Super Lig is the same deal, barley a blip on my radar now. More apt to seek out matches from Eredivisie and Belgium over France and Turkey.
    African Cup on Nations, might have watched a final or two over the years beIN has had the tournament but that’s it.
    Right now appears beIN is boxed out of any further soccer rights that have any relevance.
    Highly doubt they’ll be in play for EPL or MLS, so they need to branch out into other sports.
    Did enjoy MotoGP when they had it, now that NBC (?) has the contract haven’t seen it at all. If that contract is up soon beIN should bid.
    There’s also the content Eleven Sports (now Next Level?) have/had that could fit. Spanish basketball, Italian volleyball, Russian hockey.
    Basically, looks like they need to go even more niche and get all the foreign leagues/sports that don’t really have a US competitor and become the “World sport” destination. So more handball on main beIN instead of beIN Connect and similar content.
    Would this make them a must have for the masses? No. But could it attract enough dedicated followers for each niche (and hope they don’t overlap too much) to have a decent subscriber base when you combine them all? Maybe.

  14. Dan Nguyen

    May 13, 2021 at 7:56 pm

    As long as they don’t somehow get EPL rights.

    *Knocks on wood*

  15. Anthony

    May 13, 2021 at 6:19 pm

    Mbappe to Madrid

  16. jacko

    May 13, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    Are there any leagues or trophies they can add? Hard for carriers like Fubo and Sling to justify this network in the future.

  17. locofooty

    May 13, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    There you go, La Liga bought the rights back. Amazing. And his “We will not budge for lower rates for no reason” doesn’t paint a good picture. Someone tell them they don’t have La Liga now.

  18. Pino

    May 13, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    I hope they don’t obtain any other rights honestly at this point

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