BeIN Sport 'Messed Up The Market' By Buying Rights To U.S. Away Games, Source Says
When al-Jazeera's new U.S.-based network beIN Sport acquired the rights to the U.S. men's national football team World Cup Qualifier away matches, it "messed up the market for everyone," according to a source cited by Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. The source said that beIN "paid double the $18M fee GolTV had paid La Liga." The source said, "I think Traffic was looking for $500,000 a game." Brazil-based Traffic Sports Marketing President of Int'l Business Jochen Losch, whose company sold the World Cup qualifier rights to beIN Sport, said, "Are American fans really upset? That would be a big surprise to me. We offered the matches to everyone, but the amount of money we got offered was simply too low." Losch "would not confirm the sale price but did say that Traffic negotiated" with Soccer United Marketing and Major League Soccer on behalf of ESPN. A source said that SUM "dropped out of negotiations because of the high price (in excess of $1M)." Losch said, "I'm a little surprised to hear people moaning about beIN. Everyone should be happy because they want to build a real football channel. No channel in the U.S. thinks they have to pay money for U.S. games. They seem to think there is not a big appeal. If now they are complaining, maybe they underestimated the value." Meanwhile, Comcast on Friday announced it "had picked up" beIN Sport "at a premium in its sports entertainment package." The addition of Comcast "means the game at Jamaica on Sept. 7 could be available in a total of 54 million homes" when combined with distribution from Dish Network and DirecTV (N.Y. TIMES, 8/26).