The tradition that is American soccer fans complaining about not being able to see the United States Men's National Team play a 2014 World Cup qualifier continued this past Wednesday when the US were away to Honduras. It's a problem that began back in August 2012 when then baby soccer station beIN Sport picked up the TV rights for all USMNT World Cup qualifiers played outside of this country. Roughly five months after the announcement of that deal, beIN Sport is still not available to a plethora of customers. This, as you might imagine, has fans who live in those areas less than pleased whenever the US play a World Cup qualifier off of American soil.
I am but one of many soccer fans who have no access at home to beIN Sport. The only way I could subscribe to the channel would be to first switch television providers, something I'm not willing to do for any one station. With all of that said, the incessant whining I hear and read about this situation month in and month out has gotten out of hand.
Why you need to stop complaining about beIN Sport: The blame game
The people I don't get the most regarding this whole matter are those who blame beIN Sport for having the TV rights for USMNT away qualifiers and/or for existing, in general. That channel is no more the bad guy in this situation than is Starbucks for placing a coffee shop in an area where none existed. Those running beIN Sport merely saw an opportunity and pounced on it. Like it or not, that's capitalism at its finest.
Instead of being upset at or about beIN Sport, soccer fans should instead be pointing fingers at the likes of ESPN, FOX Soccer and NBC Sports. After all, it's not as if beIN Sport just appeared out of nowhere like a thief in the night. Any one of those three channels that are currently included in my basic digital cable package could have secured a long-term TV deal with US Soccer months before beIN launched. None did so, and that's the biggest reason many of you were forced to either leave your homes or use the Internet (more on both later) to watch last Wednesday's game.
Why you need to stop complaining about beIN Sport: The "GolTV argument"
"Why didn't beIN Sport just buy GolTV? Then everybody would have been able to watch the games!" This argument leaves me puzzled each time I hear it for a couple of reasons. First, beIN had no reason to acquire the TV rights for Bundesliga and Brazilian league matches, both of which are currently controlled by GolTV. La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1 matches air on beIN Sport/beIN Sport en Español throughout the European seasons. Those channels aren't hurting for games.
There's also the fact that GolTV is not included in standard TV packages that feature FOX Soccer and NBC Sports. Viewers would still have to pay an extra $7-to-15 per month to get the channel, and some, such as myself, would not be able to get beIN in HD (assuming that, in this imaginary scenario, beIN is just replacing GolTV). An additional $180 per year on my cable bill just to watch a handful of USMNT games in standard definition? No thanks.
Why you need to stop complaining about beIN Sport: Leave your house
Soccer is a community game that is meant to be watched by groups of inebriated supporters who are constantly singing songs that make less and less sense as the match goes on. If you can't travel to the arena or stadium, there's no better place to watch your favorite club in action than at a soccer pub. Even those who don't live near any soccer bars can head out in order to watch beIN Sport. Any establishment that offers NFL Sunday Ticket likely also carries both beIN Sport stations. All it takes is you and a couple of friends to turn that place into a soccer bar six months out of the year.
Why you need to stop complaining about beIN Sport: It's 2013
Let's be honest about the situation. If you have high-speed Internet wherever you are as you are reading this sentence, than you technically have beIN Sport. There are numerous websites out there that exist only to house links for live sporting events, including every World Cup qualifier played by the US Men's Team. I won't advertise those websites in this piece for obvious reasons, but you can find them by performing a quick Internet search. A pop-up blocker is heavily advised.
Why you need to stop complaining about beIN Sport: Patience
A lot is going to change in 2013 regarding soccer games shown on US TV. All indications are that FOX Soccer will be dead and buried before the end of summer. It sure seems like beIN, which is trying to expand to more TV service providers before the end of current European seasons, would be the perfect replacement for FSC and FSP. As Guns N' Roses taught us, all we need is just a little patience.
But I suppose a list of soccer bars in the US also wouldn't hurt.
Stop complaining about beIN Sport to random people on Facebook and Twitter, and instead click here to find out how you can demand that your TV service provider carry beIN Sport and beIN Sport en Español