Al Jazeera has announced that a new sports network will be launched in the United States this summer. BeIN Sport will feature two channels broadcasting in English & Spanish & will officially go live on August 1. The network has obtained the rights to La Liga, Ligue 1 & Serie A (Ligue 1 will be English only). The Copa America & South American 2014 World Cup qualifiers will also be broadcasted. For those matches, feeds will be provided before the official launch date.
What this means. According to ESPN, it is uncertain that beIN Sport will have finalized negotiations with US system providers, such as Comcast, DirecTV, etc. This could mean these leagues would lose significant viewership. Imagina US has partnered with beIN Sport to facilitate distribution & for technical support. Its VP of affiliate sales admitted that “you may have to switch providers” if you want access.
Since the 2004-2005 season, GolTV has sublicensed some matches to ESPN Deportes & ESPN3.com. Unfortunately, it has been reported that beIN Sport is not planning to follow suit. This means broadcasts will be shown only on its networks. With the loss of rights to Serie A & La Liga, GolTV will be left with Bundesliga as its only major European league.
Phil Schoen, who just resigned from his post as a GolTV announcer, is now employed by the new network. Fox will continue to broadcast the UEFA Champions League & now has rights to the Europa League, both through 2014-2015. The Fox network still holds rights to the Premier League, but that deal runs out at the end of next season.