Archive for the ‘beIN SPORT’ Category

NASL might pose a threat to MLS on TV

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As I walked among supporters group members before the Orlando City against Portland game, which was televised live on FOX Sports 1 last weekend, I was quite surprised. From speaking with fans, I learned many had opted to watch the previous night’s North American Soccer League (NASL) matchup between Fort Lauderdale and Miami on beIN SPORTS instead of paying any attention to MLS games going on at the very same time. It made me think what might be happening because MLS has vacated Saturday night national broadcasts. Instead, MLS continues to charge a premium for fans to watch games not nationally televised by only offering MLS Live.

The NASL, despite being an officially sanctioned second division by the US Soccer Federation (USSF), created quite a splash less than two weeks ago by securing national TV deals with CBS Sports Network and beIN SPORTS. The respective packages give the league, which aspires to challenge Major League Soccer (MLS), exposure to American soccer fans and casual sports that no other “minor” league gets in the United States. At the same time, the third-division USL has made their product more accessible than ever with live YouTube streams of every game, which means the type of buffering and camera issues we once saw from clubs at that level are now no more. In contrast, MLS charges $79.99 a year for access to its MLS Live package, which gives fans access to streams and telecasts of out-of-market and non-national TV games (see our review of MLS Live).

This TV/streaming competition in the American marketplace is good for the growth of the sport but poses a challenge to MLS. The top-flight US-based league has long operated in a vacuum where they were the only domestic product significantly promoted on TV. But in recent years, the popularity of European-based club soccer has surged on American television while no comparable growth has been recorded by MLS. Meanwhile, MLS now faces a plucky rival in NASL, who is determined to create its own niche in the market and perhaps even overtake the more established first division league.

Let’s take this past Saturday evening for example when considering MLS’ new-found dilemma.

Having aired a live game on Friday night via UniMas and being locked into “Soccer Sunday” on ESPN and FS1, MLS no longer shows live matches on national television in the United States on Saturday. When MLS announced the revamped and improved television package for the 2015-2022 time period in late 2014, NASL posed little threat in terms of the macro soccer landscape, but in the fluid word of American soccer, things change quickly.

SEE MORE: Read ‘Soccerwarz: Inside America’s soccer feud between MLS, NASL and USL

NASL on Saturday night aired a match on beIN SPORTSbetween Indy Eleven and the Ottawa Fury, which featured the commentator duo of Phil Schoen and Matteo Bonetti. At the very same time, an additional NASL game was available via ESPN3 (Miami FC vs. Tampa Bay) and a third game was broadcast on One World Sports, a premium channel few viewers get but one which streams all NASL games free of charge on its website. The NASL matchup on beIN SPORTS had been promoted throughout the day during La Liga and Serie A coverage, which included the clash between AC Milan and Juventus. Many hardcore soccer fans who are not exposed to either MLS or NASL might have tuned in for the Indy Eleven versus Ottawa Fury game (we’ll know more later this week when TV rating numbers are made available). It is also worth noting that every NASL team, save newly-formed Miami FC, has a local TV deal, many on over-the-air channels.

Meanwhile, USL had a half dozen games streaming via the league’s website and YouTube, for free. Competing with these NASL and USL broadcasts were six MLS games during the day all of which were only available with a subscription to MLS Live for out-of-market viewers.

SEE MORE: Most-watched soccer games on US TV for weekend of April 1-3

During last year’s regular season, MLS’ TV ratings improved due to the move of nationally-televised games to Sunday as well as increased promotion, but have stagnated early this season. The emergence of accessible domestic rivals is somewhat significant because core soccer fans in the United States haven’t fully embraced MLS. Many US-based fans of the sport who wake up early on Saturday mornings to catch Premier League action on NBC or spend Sundays watching big Liga MX games on various platforms have still not adopted MLS as the domestic outlet for their soccer passions.

NASL, and USL to a lesser extent, being available particularly on Saturday nights could really throw a monkey wrench into MLS’ long-term hopes of conquering the soccer market in the US. Regardless of league rhetoric expressed by Don Garber and other MLS executives, less than half of those who watch soccer passionately in the United States follow MLS. While far fewer currently follow NASL, the potential is there particularly considering that beIN SPORTS is an outlet many non-MLS oriented soccer fans already watch.

While it’s fair to say MLS remains on more attractive media outlets than NASL, the upstart second division might just have more committed television partners and a better night on the calendar with which to showcase its top talent to soccer fans across the US.

El Clasico scores 1.9 million viewers on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol

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The first el Clasico of 2016 between Barcelona and Real Madrid was watched by 1.9 million viewers in the United States between the beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español networks. Of the 1.9 million total, 695,000 watched it on beIN SPORTS (English-language) while the remaining 1,220,487 watched it on beIN SPORTS en Español (Spanish-language).

On beIN SPORTS en Español, the broadcast ranks as the number one soccer telecast year-to-date across all cable networks regardless of language, outperforming telecasts such as Univision Deportes’ Liga MX Super Clásico featuring Chivas versus Club América and the World Cup Qualifier match between México vs. Canada, as well as ESPN2’s World Cup Qualifier match with USA against Guatemala, and NBCSN’s English Premier League Chelsea vs. Arsenal match.

SEE MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo winner breaks Barcelona’s 39-game unbeaten run in el Clasico

The simulcast of el Clásico on beIN SPORTS ranks as the fifth highest rated soccer telecast among competitors such as NBCSN, ESPN2 and FOX Sports, and sits in the top 15 among all soccer matches year to date across all languages.

In comparison to el Clasico from November 2015, the April 2nd telecast of el Clásico averaged 1,915,487 total viewers, which was a 2.2% increase in viewership since the previous match on November 21st, 2015, which averaged 1,874,582 total viewers across both networks.

SEE MORE: Latest news regarding soccer TV ratings in the United States

While the number was an increase compared to last November, the most recent el Clasico didn’t exceed the number of viewers than the spring 2015 match. That one had 2.12 million viewers. The number combined the 1.353 million who watched the game live on beIN SPORTS en Espańol and the 767,000 who watched the game on the English-language broadcast on beIN SPORTS.

As well as the impressive TV numbers, the broadcast of FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid was the number one most socially engaged audience across all sporting events of the day based on tweets per unique author outperforming Villanova vs. Oklahoma and North Carolina vs. Syracuse March Madness matches on TBS.

YipTV offers beIN SPORTS and 100+ international channels via streaming service

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With streaming services, instead of being tied down to the one local cable company that’s available in your neighborhood, you can cut the cord and select from several streaming companies that each offer different channels to suit your needs. One streaming provider that I was recently made aware of is YipTV, which specializes in Spanish-language TV networks as well as offering beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español.

What’s different about YipTV is that one, it offers a free membership where you can watch as many of the free 18 channels as you like. Plus, for the first 7 days, you get 9 bonus channels, which include the soccer-friendly TyC Sports channel. Two, no credit card is required for the free membership. Three, YipTV offers the most comprehensive selection of international channels (more than 100). Four, with the free membership, you can watch YipTV on up to 2 devices, but with the premium plan, you can watch YipTV on up to 5 devices at the same time. And five, YipTV is currently offering a special where once you upgrade to the premium plan for $14.99 per month, you get the second month for free.

YipTV can be viewed on internet-enabled devices, including smart phones, tablets, computers and other portable technologies. You can also cast YipTV from the app to your TV using Apple TV, Roku, or Google Chromecast. No cable service or contract are needed to watch YipTV.

The mobile app for YipTV is available on Android and iOS devices. Plus, you can also pause live TV and miss nothing.

As the competition for legal streaming TV networks heats up, the consumers are the winners as they get more choice, better technology and competitive prices.

Get YipTV Premium now, and your second month is free. Watch el Clasico on beIN SPORTS plus 100+ channels of international programming for only $14.99/month. No contract required.

Or dip your toe in the water and sign up for the free YipTV membership today.

KlowdTV streaming service drops beIN SPORTS coverage

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In what can only be described as the worst possible timing, KlowdTV has informed its customers that it will no longer carry beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español effective immediately.

KlowdTV CEO Bill O’Hara, in an e-mail to subscribers last night, said, “We regret to inform you that beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Espanol will no longer be available in our Sports and Tus Deportes packages as of 4/1/2016. Unfortunately, we were not able to come to terms with beIN SPORTS to continue carrying their channels on KlowdTV.

“As a small business and independent operator, we remain committed to working with all of our network providers. We are continuing to explore ways to continue our relationship, but at this time there does not appear to be a viable way to continue providing the beIN SPORTS channels.”

O’Hara added, “We expect to be adding additional channels to all of our existing packages, and making several more packages over the next few months.”

SEE MORE: 7 ways to watch el Clasico between Barcelona-Real Madrid for free

The timing is bad news for KlowdTV given that subscribers now have to scramble to find a different streaming provider to watch Saturday’s el Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Competitors fuboTV, Sling International, Sling TV and Sling Latino all offer free trials and access to beIN SPORTS.

With the loss of beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español, the only soccer-specific networks that KlowdTV currently carries are GolTV and GolTV en Español.

If you’re not sure which legal streaming service to choose, check out our soccer streaming comparison guide that features side-by-side comparisons between the leading streaming companies.

beIN SPORTS makes PPV U-turn; Decides to show Chile-Argentina on TV after all

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In a sudden U-turn, beIN SPORTS has announced that they are scrapping plans to show the Chile vs Argentina match on pay-per-view and will instead show the match live on its two networks in the United States — beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS en Español.

The news comes after several providers – including Comcast – made the pay-per-view event available for purchase. At the time of writing, it is not clear why beIN SPORTS has had a change of heart, nor is there word about the 3 matches that were slated for pay-per-view next Tuesday when Round 6 of the CONMEBOL Qualifiers takes place.

However, after soccer fans reacted negatively when the news was revealed Monday, it’s possible that the network may have decided to change plans in order not to upset its loyal viewers.

SEE MORE: Schedule of international break games on US TV and live streaming

Meanwhile, beIN SPORTS is still currently planning on showing the following games on PPV on Tuesday, March 29:

Uruguay vs. Peru (World Cup qualifier), 7pm ET
Venezuela vs. Chile (World Cup qualifier), 7:30pm ET
Paraguay vs. Brazil (World Cup qualifier), 8:45pm ET

Edward Perovic is the publisher of soccertvblog.com – a source for schedules and US TV information for major European Leagues and International competitions.