Commentary

BeIN Sport grabs U.S. away World Cup qualifiers

By Paul Kennedy

Yousef Al Obaidly, managing director of beIN Sport, says Al-Jazeera's new soccer channel is the place for U.S. soccer fans -- though they'll have to scramble to find it if they want to watch the Jamaica-USA World Cup 2014 qualifier live from Kingston on Sept. 7.

A week after its launch, Bein Sport announced Wednesday that it had acquired the rights to the next two U.S. away qualifiers, though the network is only available currently on satellite networks Dish Network and DirecTV.

At least the first away qualifier, against Guatemala in June, was available to all fans if they were willing to shell out money.

Guatemala-USA aired on pay-per-view when Traffic, which has snapped up the rights held up the USA's opponents, sold them to Integrated Sports Media, which charged $29.95 to watch the game on television or via streaming.

Traffic sold the rights to the other U.S. away qualifiers to beIN Sport, as it had done for South American qualifiers.

Bein Sport launched a week ago. Its first live event was the Ecuador-Chile friendly from Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. It had begun with live streaming of France's Ligue 1 and England's Capital One Cup. Spain's La Liga started last weekend, and Italy's Serie A begins this weekend.

“By securing these exclusive TV rights, beIN Sport again shows why it’s the place for U.S. fans to be in the best soccer action in the world,” Obaidly said in a statement. “Fans can now cheer on the U.S. men’s team as they compete on the world stage, and they can see it only on beIN Sport.”

BeIN Sport is carried on DirecTV's sports tier in high and standard definition and beIN Sport en Espanol will be distributed on DirecTV Mas in standard definition. DISH Network is showing beIN Sport on its America's Top 250 and DISHLatino packages.

But BeIN Sport must negotiate with individual cable carriers to be added to their systems in what is typically a slow and complicated process. (There was no announcement about offering a pay-per-view streaming option for Jamaica-USA.)

After BeIN Sport's launch last week, Obaidly told AP's Ron Blum, 'There will be more announcements coming soon. We are in a discussion with all the cable operators. Hopefully, we can reach an agreement so we can keep everyone happy.''

Bein Sport also launched this summer in France after buying up domestic and international soccer media rights.

MORE TV RIGHTS. GolTV, which formerly owned some of the TV rights now held by BeIN Sport, is scrambling for new programming. The bilingual TV network's latest programming addition: Mexico's Ascenso MX. It will carry more than 120 matches from the renamed Second Division.
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7 comments about "BeIN Sport grabs U.S. away World Cup qualifiers".
  1. Andrzej Kowalski, August 22, 2012 at 6:09 p.m.

    Did beINSport bought the TV rights from USSoccer? or they bought the TV rights from CONCACAF? In any case this is a scandal!US team games TV rights should sold to channel available to as broad audience as possible,not to the highest bidder. The reason for existence of USSoccr and Concacaf should be to popularize soccer game, not to earn as much money as possible and use that many to buy next elections as they always do or to maintain expensive pharaonic projects like the Hall of Uknown Player.

  2. James Madison, August 22, 2012 at 10:30 p.m.

    The short term $ may be right for those who are receiving and paying them, but depriving US fans of access to WCup qual matches through such broad outlets as ESPN, ESPN2, MSNBC, Univision or FOX Soccer is no way to build enthusiasm for the Men's National Team or soccer in general

  3. Constantine KARALIS, August 23, 2012 at 12:02 a.m.

    It is a national shame to restrict watching the national team to those that are willing to pay$30 to see it! (Who knows how much the next one will cost?) Soccer has had enough trouble getting traction in this country! Believe me! I have been a fan since coming to this country in 1958. Selling transmission rights to the highest bidder will bankrupt the highest bidder and kill the sport. What a shame!
    CK

  4. Joe Dauria, August 23, 2012 at 8:46 a.m.

    While the article does not make it clear...it has nothing to do with US Soccer going for the money $...US Soccer ONLY OWNS RIGHTS TO HOME MATCHES! Which ESPN/ABC bid for and won.

    Road match rights are owned by the home federations, so Guatemala, Jamaica and Antigua & Barbuda all sold their home match rights to Traffic. Therefore it was Traffic's idea for PPV rather than re-selling the Guatemala match to a US station. Now Traffic has re-sold their rights for the away matches to BeIN.

    Nothing US Soccer officials can do about it except using their "might" to push US cable providers to add the channel. However, what they can do is punish the other countries. We had to watch their game in Guatemala on PPV...then US Soccer should work with ESPN to sell the rights for the feed to Guatemala when they play here to a PPV provider too...If we have to watch on PPV, make their country have to watch their team play here on PPV!

  5. Joe Dauria, August 23, 2012 at 8:49 a.m.

    Should clarify that the countries the US are playing sold their rights to home matches to Traffic for US distribution...not for their own country. So while we had to pay $30 to watch the US draw with Guatemala...it was on local tv down there!

  6. Andrzej Kowalski, August 28, 2012 at 7:26 p.m.

    In Europe thing like this would be unthinkable. This is responsibility of Concacaf and FIFA to ensure that all qualifiers are available to all countries on TV on reasonable terms. If a country federation can not meat that condition it should be excluded from qualifiers!If FIFA demands from WC orgenisers to be able to televise games to rest of the world, it should demand the same in qualifiers! Because the WC starts in qualifiers!!!!!!
    The WC starts with qualifiers

  7. Andrzej Kowalski, August 28, 2012 at 7:36 p.m.

    USsoccer Should use every possible means to in force our TV rights. If this is impossible than USsoccer federation should join South American or European federations. Because qualifiers without TV do not make sense.

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