beIN Sport Acquires Rights To Broadcast U.S. Men's Soccer World Cup Qualifying Away Games
Qatar Media’s Miami-based beIN Sports has acquired the U.S. TV rights to all away U.S. men's national soccer qualifying matches in the CONCACAF region, "starting with the game in Kingston, Jamaica, on Sept. 7," according to Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. To date, beIN is available to the "combined 34 million subscribers to the satellite channels DirecTV and Dish Network." USSF President Sunil Gulati in an e-mail said, "We don’t control the rights for our away matches but have talked with beIN Sport and know that they have an aggressive plan to expand distribution over the weeks and months to come. Obviously, we’d like as wide a distribution in the US as possible for our WCQ matches." Bell noted USSF's deal with beIN "also includes a return match at Antigua and Barbuda on Oct. 12." CONCACAF "sold the rights to the United States' away games to Traffic, the Brazil-based company that also owns the North American Soccer League." In turn, Traffic "has sold the remaining U.S. away matches" to beIN Sports (NYTIMES.com, 8/22). The AP's Ronald Blum noted rights to home U.S. qualifiers "are held by ESPN." During '10 World Cup qualifying, eight matches on ESPN2 "averaged 787,000 viewers and two matches on ESPN averaged 734,000" (AP, 8/22).