Home Global Game Europe What will happen with beIN Sport’s Canadian service after Jan. 6 deadline passes?

What will happen with beIN Sport’s Canadian service after Jan. 6 deadline passes?

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To call beIN Sport’s rollout of its online Canadian service a “soft launch” might be a bit of an understatement.

A couple of weeks ago, beIN Sports launched its online service for Canadian viewers, beIN Sport Play Canada. According to host Jeremy St. Louis, the service will be available on a free basis until Jan. 6.

The network holds the Canadian rights to La Liga, Serie A, League Championship and Ligue 1 Games and, before the launch of the online service, that monopoly had aggrieved Canadian viewers. Why? Because the company does not have the CRTC’s blessing to broadcast over the domestic airwaves.

The CRTC does not regulate Internet broadcasting.

But, it took until Thursday for beIN’s head office to actually acknowledge the existence of beIN Sport Play Canada. It was included in a release about this weekend’s coverage of the Real Madrid-Barcelona El Clasico. In said release, there was a brief sentence about how Canadian fans can view the big game using the online service. That was all. One line.

The 11 has been regularly in contact with beIN’s reps in the U.S., and we’ve submitted and then been asked to resubmit our questions about their plans for Canada. Mum is still the word from beIN’s head office when we ask if there are plans to approach the CRTC for a proper broadcast licence, or if beIN will try to add more Canadian programming (such as bidding for MLS, NASL or Canadian-national-team rights when they come up). We’ve asked how much the online service will cost after the Jan. 6 deadline.

We’ll keep asking. Honestly, by now, I feel bad for the network reps, who have to be sick of hearing from me. And, during that time, the higher-ups at head office wouldn’t actually go so far as to address the very existence of beIN Sport Play Canada, even though the service is out in plain sight.

We’ve covered the CRTC rules in previous posts (CLICK HERE). But it boils down to this, a foreign broadcaster can’t be approved for a Canadian licence if its content directly competes with a Canadian provider. Canada has its own sports channels and a pay service (Sportsnet World) that provides soccer programming. As well, the CRTC frowns on foreign broadcasters who apply for licences with exclusive foreign sports deals already in hand (which beIN does with La Liga, Serie A, etc.). The reason? Because they don’t allow Canadian broadcasters to have a chance at those broadcast rights. Basically, you’re not supposed to come in and influence the market until you have been approved to be in the market.

If beIN — which affiliated with Al-Jazeera, was to partner with a Canadian broadcaster, or if it was to launch itself as a Canadian network, there could be ways forward. But, if it wants to broadcast in Canada, it will need to provide a quota of Canadian content, unless the CRTC decides to completely change the rules.

But, for now, beIN is content to have what is a quiet rollout of its content. And we’re waiting to see what it has in store for Jan. 7, 2014, the day after the free online service is set to expire.

NOTE: Late Thursday afternoon, beIN Sport issued a second El Clasico release which highlighted its, ahem, new Canadian service. Basically, it announced El Clasico would be available to Canadian viewers this Saturday, with pregame at 11 a.m.

“BeIN Sport Play offers uncompromised international sports content to Canadian sports fans,” said Yousef Al-Obaidly, managing director of beIN Sport. “Our exciting worldwide coverage of the best athletes and best sports competitions is not available anywhere else.”

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9 Comments

  1. Mario

    February 25, 2014 at 4:42 am

  2. Mario

    February 25, 2014 at 4:40 am

    BeIN Sports Canada is now available on MTS in Manitoba. When will the rest of the Canada be able to watch BeIN through other providers.

    Reply

  3. VanniG

    January 28, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Just received an email. As of February 1st, beINSports Canada will be moving to a paid subscription model. Here is an extract.

    […]
    We wanted you to be the first to know that, beginning Feb. 1, 2014, beIN SPORTS PLAY Canada will be switching to a paid subscription model.
    This new setup ensures your continued access to exclusive content for La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, the League Championship and much, much more.
    Subscriptions to the beINSPORTSPLAY.ca online portal will include all the games, matches, races and quality streaming you have come to expect from beIN SPORTS PLAY Canada, all for $19.95/month CAD. On February 1, existing subscribers will be prompted to enter their payment information to gain full access.
    […]

    Twenty bucks a month (plus taxes I presume) for one or two channels through the internet (so no HD quality) sounds very steep to me.
    It will be interesting to see what the uptake is going to be. Especially since carriage by the main cable/satellite providers seems to be quite far away.

    Reply

    • Ian

      January 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm

      No way I’m paying $20. Always problem in sports when you give something away for free then start to want $.

      Reply

  4. Ian

    January 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    Today all I get is – “The page isn’t redirecting properly

    Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete. This problem can sometimes be caused by disabling or refusing to accept
    cookies.”

    I was expecting to be asked for money – answer would be no.

    Reply

  5. Chris

    November 1, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    You can connect your computer with an HDMI cable to your TV and watch it on your TV. Hope that they keep the La Liga for free on the computer. Works very well for me.

    Reply

  6. Tim

    October 28, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    I was really happy to hear that the Bundesliga didnt go to BeIn.

    Reply

  7. Hector

    October 25, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Well as you say the only option is that they cover the games of local soccer, on the pyramid the one just under the MLS.

    Reply

    • Steven Sandor

      October 25, 2013 at 2:10 am

      NASL, in Canada and the U.S., is one level below MLS on the pyramid. Currently, FC Edmonton’s games are with Sportsnet.

      Reply

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