UPDATE: Jonathan Tannenwald reported at Philly.com on August 30, “I was told that Comcast plans to have the channel up and running by September 6. It will only be available in standard definition, and you’ll have to subscribe to the sports channel tier to get it.”
On Sept. 4, Comcast tweeted that beIN Sport “will launch in Spanish SD only. HD and the English version will be available at a later date as well as online streaming.” According to a later tweet, online streaming will not be available in time for the USMNT World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Sept. 7.
Jonathan Tannenwald reported on Sept. 4 that Philadelphia Comcast customers who subscribe to either the multi-Latino package or the Sports and Entertainment package will have access to the Spanish-language beIN Sport channel in SD on Thursday, Sept. 6. But hold on, USMNT fans, beIn Sport en Espanyol will not be showing Friday’s qualifier against Jamaica live. A delayed broadcast will air at 11:45pm on Friday. Tannenwald reports that the date of the English language channel and live stream launch is not known, but he “got the distinct impression” that Comcast would try to have them available by the time of the qualifier against Antigua & Barbuda on Oct. 12.
On Sept. 6, beIN Sport en Español appeared on Comcast in Philadelphia on channel 583. @JeepMattDE tweets how you can hear English language commentary on beIN Sport en Español, “For beIN Sport, on the box, menu, audio setup, set default to English – the new Spanish version of beIN Sport will be in English!”
be In Sport announced on Thursday afternoon that Comcast will become the first cable television provider to carry the new sports network, which officially launched last week.
A tweet from Comcast confirmed the announcement.
The new sports network, which has both English and Spanish language channels and is owned by Qatar-based Al Jazeera, caused waves when news broke that it had secured the American broadcast rights to Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, France’s Ligue 1, South American World Cup Qualifiers and Copa America 2015. On Wednesday the network announced that it had secured the rights to broadcast the away games of all USMNT CONCACAF qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.
The announcement from beIN Sports said that Xfinity TV customers will be able to view the network’s programming on TV, On Demand, Online and on Mobile Devices.
“Adding to Comcast’s leadership in offering the most live sports on television and online, beIN SPORT will be available in Spanish on the Xfinity TV MultiLatino Package and in English on the Xfinity TV Sports Entertainment Package,” the announcement said.
So, presumably, if you already subscribe to Fox Soccer Channel and GolTV, you will also receive beIN Sport. I say presumably because the announcement also said, “Availability of both channels will vary by market.”
The announcement said further, “In addition to its linear TV networks, select beIN SPORT content will be available on demand via Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand platform. Live matches carried on beIN SPORT’s linear networks, along with additional live matches, will also be available to authenticated Comcast Xfinity TV customers via Comcast’s online and mobile TV Everywhere platforms.”
An unnamed spokesperson told the Washington Post’s Stephen Goff, “Right now, the network will be available in SD on Xfinity.”
For those who do not subscribe to Comcast, a tweet from beIN Sport said, “More announcements coming once official.”
Just when the network will be available to Comcast subscribers is unclear. A tweet from Comcast said only, “We will begin carrying more European soccer action in the upcoming weeks.”
USMNT supporters will want to know whether Comcast will have the channel available in time for the World Cup qualifier against Jamaica on Sept. 7. ESPN holds the rights to broadcast the USMNT’s home qualification games.
When beIN Sport was launched last Wednesday, carriage deals were only in place with Dish Network and DirecTV, who combined only reach approximately 7 percent of US television households.
US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said before today’s announcement, “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.”
Concerns over the network’s distribution were also voiced from Europe. AC Milan director Umberto Gandini said in an AP report last Friday, “I know Madrid and Barcelona are already concerned by what has happened domestically. We were trying to maximize revenues ahead of visibility. Frankly speaking, we were not aware of such difficulties reaching viewers in the United States and the fact that we are going to be penalized highly by the difference in viewership.”