Thu. Aug 16th, 2018

Comcast Drops beIN, Verizon May Follow

It has been a rough summer for beIN Sports. First, the cable sports network lost its marquee afternoon programming when Sean Salisbury left SB Nation Radio. Now, it looks like beIN is the loser of multiple carriage fights.

The network, which is a must have for American soccer fans, failed to come to a new carriage agreement with Comcast on Wednesday. It pulled its programming from the cable provider as a result.

Shortly after that, Verizon announced that its current deal with beIN was set to expire soon and the two sides were “far apart” on a new deal.

Antonio Briceno, who runs beIN Sports in the US and Canada, told Bob Fernandez of the Philadelphia Daily News, “The truth is, we face a disheartening trend of media consolidation, where the big get bigger and innovative brands like ours that serve diverse audiences  get pushed-out.”

Executives at beIN built the network on a growing passion in the US for European soccer. The network has rights to Spain’s La Liga and to France’s Ligue 1. A partnership with Conference USA allowed beIN to add American college football and basketball to its repertoire in recent years, but soccer was always the core of its business model.

Soccer may also be the reason for bad blood between beIN and Comcast. The network filed an FCC complaint against the cable giant in June, claiming that Comcast was making it harder to find beIN programming because of its relationship with English soccer through NBCSN. Comcast denied those charges.

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