You may have heard that Al Jazeera has started an international sports network in the United States (if not then check out this seed of mine: La Liga, Serie A vanish for many US viewers). The first soccer fans in America may have noticed was this weekend as several European soccer leagues which were previously available on ESPN and Fox Soccer Channel are now only on beIN Sport.
Most notably missing is the Spanish La Liga and Italian Serie A. So no watching AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus, AS Roma, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona (among many other teams) unless you are in the few households where it is available in the United States. According to beIN Sport's web site, the new sports network is available on DirecTV and Dish Network.
Reportedly beIN Sport is in so few homes that Nielson will not include it in its ratings, for now anyway. So what is Al Jazeera's plan for the new sports network? I think they will use it as leverage to get TV providers in the U.S. to carry their news network in exchange for access to the various sports right's they control.
So Comcast would you like to offer La Liga and Serie A matches to your subscribers? Then Al Jazeera have a deal for you. Just ad Al Jazeera News and you get soccer thrown in too! How can they refuse? Now I don't think it will be that simple but that's the idea anyway.
Does this sound crazy? Consider that when Major League Soccer started it controlled World Cup rights for the U.S. and used that to get ESPN to carry MLS games. ESPN had to show MLS matches for the right to air World Cup games.
I just hope some sort of deal can be made soon, it's been a while since I haven't been able to watch Inter and Barca on TV.