Home Global Game Europe No Barca, no Roma, no PSG; Officially, beIN Sport mum on Canadian plans

No Barca, no Roma, no PSG; Officially, beIN Sport mum on Canadian plans


Canadian soccer viewers don’t have a lot of legal viewing options when it comes to catching games from Ligue 1, La Liga or Serie A.

This weekend, our American friends will have access to Barcelona and Real Madrid’s season openers through beIN Sport, the network which has gobbled up the North American rights to La Liga. It also has the broadcast rights for Italian league and French league action. This Saturday’s slate of games is mouth-watering; Ligue 1 action between Montpellier and AS Monaco; then onto to Barca and Real Madrid season openers.

The network, which is tied to the Al Jazeera empire, is also broadcasting English Championship matches this season.

But, for the second straight European season, Canadian fans will be left searching for illegal feeds, as beIN Sport isn’t available in Canada. Since the network launched in 2012, the off-the-record indications have been that it wants to make itself available in Canada. So far, though, there haven’t been concrete actions. The result is a squeeze; beIN Sport continues to eat up Canadian broadcast rights for big European soccer properties, with no avenue to broadcast them in Canada.

Officially, the network has nothing to say on the record. That was the stance this week when it was approached by The 11.

But, this is what we know. There is no current application in front of the CRTC for a broadcast licence in Canada, which beIN would need to make its signal available here.

And, before we get into the timeline to get a licence in Canada, we should address this question — HOW would beIN Sport even be allowed to operate in Canada?

From the CRTC:

“All non-Canadian services must be authorized before they can be distributed in Canada. For a service to be authorized, a Canadian sponsor (for example, a distributor, programming service or industry organization) makes a formal request to the CRTC. The CRTC won’t authorize non-Canadian English- and French-language services if they compete with Canadian pay and specialty services. This helps to ensure that Canadian services have priority.”

Please re-read the bit in italics. This is why ESPN can’t broadcast in Canada — because it would compete with TSN and Sportsnet. So, as a foreign broadcaster, beIN Sport can’t come in and compete with the likes of GolTV Canada and Sportsnet World.

The only course for beIN would be to launch a Canadian affiliate — a beIN Canada, with studios and offices in Canada, which would employ Canadian talent. Now, beIN has affiliates based in the U.S., Hong Kong, Thailand and France, so a Canadian affiliate would not be a ludicrous suggestion.

Just like Fox Sports World Canada used to be. Or Food Network Canada. Or Discovery Canada. These Canadian subsidiary launches are often done as partnerships; Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment was behind the launch of GolTV Canada; CTV, Shaw and Global partner in many of the U.S.-Canadian subsidiary channels.

But, if beIN Canada was to apply for a licence, it needs to show it will dedicate a portion of its programming to Canadian content. And this is where it’s problematic. The three Canadian MLS teams’ rights are tied up. FC Edmonton’s broadcasts are licensed to Sportsnet. Soccer content doesn’t come easy in Canada; and beIN would need to find a way to break into the Canadian market in order to satisfy Can-con regulations.

Then, there’s the licence application. If beIN launches a bid towards the CRTC, a waiting period is given for public comment and to see if there is opposition. This is a time when supporters of a station can tell the feds why they want the service. But, it’s also a time when other parties, including other broadcasters, can say why they oppose the deal. Rogers, Shaw and Bell Media would have the chances to launch appeals against beIN, if they so wished.

How long does this process take? The sale of The Score to Rogers, which saw the channel rebranded as Sportsnet 360 (disclaimer: The FC Edmonton broadcasts on which I appear are aired on Sportsnet 360) gives us an idea. On Aug. 24, 2012, the CRTC approved a trust agreement for the sale of The Score to Rogers. Basically, the shares of the channel were held in trust, as the CRTC waited to approve the deal. The deadline for interventions was set for Feb. 20, 2013.

That’s six months.

The deal was finally OK’ed on April 30, 2013. But, if there was fierce opposition to the deal, it would have taken longer to be resolved.

Without even a hint of a licence application going forward, there’s no chance we’d see beIN Sport signals in Canada during this European season, unless they’d re-sell the rights to an existing Canadian broadcaster.

But, even if beIN Sport wanted to sell those signals, would a Canadian broadcaster bite? Remember what they are buying has no Canadian content whatsoever. And there’s only so much non-Canadian material each broadcaster can take on.

Think of broadcasting in Canada as a series of causes and effects, of good intentions and unintended consequences. We have a very strictly regulated system in Canada — one that’s designed to protect Canadian culture and jobs.

The sad thing for Canadian soccer fans is that beIN looks to be swallowing more properties as it grows in other parts of the world. And that reduces the viewing options for the Canadian viewer that’s squeezed out of the legal broadcasting picture.

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  1. Mimo

    April 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Hey dimitri how are you? I know that I’m a bit late lol to ask you some questions but I wish you help.. I’ll be moving to canada in couple of weeks and my husband loves soccer.. So how can I get the channels? I’ll be living in montreal.

    • dimitri

      April 2, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      It’s ok now all the games are available on tv. you can watch the premier league, la liga, french league etc. I suggest you to get bell fibe tv it’s pretty amazing

    • martin

      April 3, 2015 at 7:42 am

      Being a Shaw customer in Vancouver BC and having heard of possibilities of watching La Liga games in Canada on TV using another provider, I still watch those games over the net using Bein Sports. And as the feed is usually pretty bad, I´d love to get a better picture/get the games through cable.
      Can I be a Shaw customer but buy certain products (or just one channel, basically) through another cable service without having to agree to a comprehensive package which I have to pay for every month?
      Or are we BC-folk just getting f—-d over once again compared to Ontario? I haven´t even bothered to check this season, but last year I was told that whatever they were advertising on TV on Sportsnet regarding seeing additional games on the computer, it would not apply to BC.

      What is the situation like in BC right now?

      • dimitri

        April 3, 2015 at 8:47 pm

        Im not sure but my friend has shaw here in montreal and i saw beintv on his listings you should check it out

  2. dimitri

    March 8, 2014 at 11:10 pm

    Bein sport is currently available on Bell Fibe ch 1412

  3. dimitri

    October 23, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Too bad it’s cheaper with the roku i guess you need a Us dns. You can return the device and buy their reicever as I did two years ago. It’s in montreal though on PIE IX i think. The info is on their website bwatla

  4. Jebbin

    October 22, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I get a msg “We’re sorry. At this time, we don’t support adding channels from the web for your region”. And when I contact Roku support, Canada – they tell me that the channel is not available in Canada yet.

  5. dimitri

    October 19, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Beintv is free man beinsportplay.ca

  6. Marvin Valencia

    October 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Bein sports has a free stream of the the liga games. Here is the URL


    Promo code is BEINCANADA

  7. Andre Mesias

    September 28, 2013 at 1:07 am

    It is unbelievable how restrictive and regressive is the CRTC legislation. This system seems like North Korean or Cuban law. The Canadian soccer fans hands are tied.

  8. dimitri

    September 25, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    RTNH….RTG….TELE PLURIEL and 2 more I dont remember…The only thing is they dont really have a schedule they broadcast barca for sure but if the madrid game is on the same time as a milan-inter for example some of them will probably go for the Serie a.game

  9. hardeep

    September 20, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    Melo……your are SOOO right! Canadian tv sucks!

  10. Frank

    September 3, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    I absolutely hate this. I want to watch La Liga.. Why the hell would beIN get North American rights if they don’t even broadcast in Canada. This is a big share. Writing to CRTC is of no avail. They’ve got robots responding with canned scripts. beIN just keeps saying the correct things but no action.

  11. dimitri

    August 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Martin trust me you will see all major soccer events and again La liga included. Those channels are not dedicated to sports but on saturdays sundays and during champions league time they are all connected to european networks…If you want a proof this sunday log on waystv.tv for free and then click on rtnh and enjoy barca or real madrid. rtnh is on the haitilivenetworks menu selection so you can have it if you subscribe.. it was my secret but this year I decided to share it cause I think beintv has been too disrespectfull towards canadian viewers…

  12. Martin

    August 29, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    Dimitri – thanks for trying to help me out but you are unfortunately totally wrong. This is the reply I got from Haiti Live Networks.

    Hello Mr Palm and thank you for your interest in Haiti Live Networks and its IPTV service BWATLA.

    We are a Haitian live television program IP broadcaster and our content is purely Haitian. Unfortunately we do not at this time have a dedicated sports channel or offer any European League soccer packages.

    We are glad however that you’ve learned of our service and would appreciate you sharing your source of information so that it can be corrected as we would not want to mislead potential customers.

    Although we do not offer the package you seek, we encourage you subscribe to our service should be interested in Haitian current events, culture, News and the likes.

    With our service you will discover and experience Haiti!

    Best regards

    Customer Service Department




  13. Dimitri

    August 29, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    To watch la liga legally with good quality, just get the roku tv device from a local store and then subscribe to haitilivenetworks for $19/month.Then you’ll have access to more than 7 Haitian channels for la liga games, serie A, world cup qualifiers, champions league, and all major soccer

    • Root

      September 24, 2013 at 8:57 pm

      Which of their channels broadcasts sports?

      • dimitri

        September 25, 2013 at 9:18 pm

        Bet365.com works fine too i have it…I’m an inter fan and watch all inter games on it, it’s HD…You just have to leave $10 in your account and you can watch all sports. it’s actually a good investment $10 one time to watch la liga forever….

        • Jebbin

          October 19, 2013 at 5:11 am

          Dmitri, I just picked up the Roku device today but im having trouble finding HLN on it. Also can you stream Bet365 to your tv through roku?

        • Jebbin

          October 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

          Also, how did you subscribe to HLN, I am being told the channel is not available to stream on roku canada, its only available in the u.s.

  14. Viriatus De Melo

    August 26, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Here is the copy/paste answer I received from the CRTC today, what a b.s. response.

    Dear ____________

    Thank you for contacting us regarding television services that originate in other countries and how they become authorized for distribution in Canada.

    Bein sports is not currently authorized for distribution in Canada. The CRTC authorizes foreign channels to be distributed in Canada through the List of non-Canadian programming services authorized for distribution (the List), available at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/publications/satlist.htm . The request to add a service to the List must originate from a Canadian sponsor, such as a TV service provider, a Canadian television licensee or an industry organization. The request is assessed in light of certain criteria, including our policy of not allowing the carriage of non-Canadian satellite services which can offer programming similar to Canadian pay and specialty services. Additionally, foreign broadcasters that are approved for distribution in Canada must agree not to seek exclusive programming agreements that would prevent Canadian programming services from bidding for the same programming.

    For additional information, we invite you to view our fact sheet Availability of Canadian and Non-Canadian programming services at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/INFO_SHT/b311.htm .

    I hope you find this information helpful.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: To respond to this message, please click here and follow the prompts: http://www.crtc.gc.ca/rapidsccm/landing.asp?lang=E&caseid=632221&key=41982.4678811343

  15. Martin

    August 25, 2013 at 12:38 am

    You are of course right about the time limitations for TSN and Sportsnet on Saturday and Sunday mornings/afternoons. Those two channels are however not the only ones in this country. As BeIn now makes $ 0 in Canada for the rights, don´t you think they´d like to “lend” them to any channel for any price? Can they? And wouldn´t one of the 100-200 channels might want to take a risk/expand in to sports a bit? Big risks are the norm in the industry, aren´t they?
    I suppose BeIn doesn´t care? And no “ordinary” Canadian channel has approached them?

    • Steven Sandor

      August 25, 2013 at 1:01 am

      Remember that in Canada your licence must specify that you will show soccer or sports programming for abroad, or you first have to amend your licence before even approaching BeIn.

      And, of course, as I am part of the FC Edmonton broadcast crew, I think all Canadians should be focusing their Sunday soccer viewing on the NASL first, to support Canadian clubs and players, and then enjoy European/South American vieweing later. But, at the same time, it’s all about choice, isn’t it? And I understand the viewers’ frustration. But if I was a business owner and I paid for the rights to broadcast a property, under no circumstances would I farm them out for free.

  16. Martin

    August 24, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Thanks for the update Steven. It´s surely frustrating watching La Liga games through bad or semi bad internet feeds although better than nothing, I suppose. Anyway… Did BeIn Sports buy the La Liga (etc) rights for all of North America in one deal and now they just don´t care much about the Canadian market (because the US market was the key)? Wouldn´t it be possible for BeIn to re-sell (lend) the Canadian rights to TSN or Sportsnet – for one season for instance? I´m sure there is a lot of politics, money and all kinds of regulations involved, but exactly who would be on the losing end if TSN or Sportsnet bought those rights from BeIn for a year or two for a small sum? Maybe that would´t work because BeIn would act as some kind of pimp, and that is forbidden in this business? Also… Does GolTV have any plans on starting sending in HD? I approached them before last season and all I got was something along the lines of “we are working hard at it”.
    What have you heard, Steven?

    • Steven Sandor

      August 25, 2013 at 12:15 am

      It would be hard to see TSN being too serious about bidding for Serie A or La Liga. It already airs some EPL content, and that’s OK for Saturday AM. But there’s no way that TSN wants Sunday afternoon programming to conflict with NFL, or Saturday afternoon content to conflict with CFL or its existing MLS properties. Remember that TSN also shows plenty of NHL afternoon games on weekends.

      Sportsnet has the SN World channel, but its purchasing budget isn’t huge.

  17. hangarcat

    August 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    These silly CDN conglomerates have to start realizing that nature abhors a vacuum and just because they put up blocks for outsider content, doesn’t mean the masses won’t find the content somewhere else. I was able to watch the Barca Levante game and my home Team Colo Colo from Chile against Iquique.. and it wasn’t on Bell, Shaw or Rogers and I bet there’s thousands of Canadians whose Sunday are for futbol and won’t settle for their limitations.

    BeInsport has great programming and they should just carve out a place for them to play as well. Don’t change a thing, I’d hate to see Carmen Boquin or Ana Cobos be replaced by a lesser personality 🙂

  18. Viriatus De Melo

    August 17, 2013 at 12:36 am

    The only reason Bein Sport is not in Canada yet is because Rogers and Bell don’t have a behemoth here. Setanta out of Ireland and GolTV out of Uruguay were small potatoes. A rich gazillionaire from Qatar owns BeIN, he’s got more money than Rogers, Bell and Shaw combined. Like their fear of Verizon, they along with their Uncle Bob (the CRTC) have protections and rules in place so they can continue hosing Canadians.

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