MIAMI and MADRID, May 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- beIN MEDIA GROUP ("beIN") and LaLiga have agreed a significant (undisclosed) deal in the US & Canada where LaLiga will buy-back its North America rights for the final seasons of the current deal. The arrangement is strategically and commercially beneficial to both parties, who are long-term trusted partners in a multitude of markets across the world. LaLiga is set to announce a new US partner shortly.
The original 4-year deal between beIN and LaLiga covered the period 2020-21 to 2023-24 and included exclusive English and Spanish language rights to LaLiga – one of the most successful soccer leagues in the world – across the USA and Canada. The commercial arrangement gives beIN's North America business a stronger long-term footing and more strategic balance in the US, which is currently one of the world's most fiercely-competitive markets for media rights; while LaLiga will look to leverage more scale with a soon-to-be-announced US network.
beIN SPORTS will continue to be one of LaLiga's most important overseas partners, continuing to broadcast Spanish football's top division in more than 35 countries spanning 3 continents across the world, including France in Europe; 11 countries in Asia Pacific (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines), and the 24 countries of the Middle East & North Africa. beIN and LaLiga will also continue their renowned alliance and partnership on anti-piracy – where they are industry-leading – and various activations ahead of the Qatar World Cup 2022.
In the US & Canada, beIN SPORTS remains the home of France's Ligue 1, the French Coupe de la Ligue, the Africa Cup of Nations and CAF properties, a range of South American soccer including Copa Libertadores, Copa Sudamericana, Recopa Sudamericana, together with the Turkish Süper Lig, various Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) men's friendlies and major games of Paris Saint-Germain Féminine. In addition to soccer, beIN SPORTS North America serves as a haven for fans of basketball, wrestling, mixed martial arts (MMA), skiing and handball, among others.
In the past 18 months, beIN has also revolutionised its US strategy by launching two innovative and completely free ad-supported channels – beIN SPORTS XTRA (Spanish and English) – which provide 24/7 sports content to consumers across 38 major free-to-air distributors (DMAs) and all major digital platforms in the US. These two new free channels run alongside beIN's pay-TV channels, and have already reaped major return in subscriber numbers (+206% between March 2020 and October 2020) as consumers look for an alternative to pay.
beIN's new ad-driven (rather than subscription-driven) channels are seen as the future model of profitable broadcasting in the US, in light of evolving consumer habits and demands, inflated rights fees and piracy. Further, in the US the distribution landscape is increasingly challenging for independent pay-TV channels, where distributors have started demanding prohibitively unreasonable distribution terms to cover their own losses and favour their own channels.
Richard Verow, Chief Sports Officer of beIN Media Group, said "Like broadcasters all over the world, we are constantly assessing our rights portfolio across all our markets to ensure financial discipline, commercial and strategic sense, and – crucially – long term growth. This arrangement with LaLiga in the US & Canada reflects that, sacrificing a short-term gain for long-term wins and sustainability in North America. Financial discipline has never been more important in the current context, where you have a ferociously competitive US market, coupled with constantly changing viewing habits, all complicated further by the pandemic and rampant piracy. beIN has significant ambitions for the US market, across both sports and entertainment – not least shown by our successes with MIRAMAX – and also in free-to-air broadcasting. This deal really gives us the platform to be opportunistic, strategic and long-term over the coming cycles. We also look forward to continuing as LaLiga's trusted partner in many other markets around the world."
LaLiga President, Javier Tebas, said "beIN is one of our most important, valued and strategic broadcast partners, and I look forward to working closely with the Group for many years to come in various key markets across the world. In the US and Canada our proud partnership has lasted nearly a decade, and over that time together we've successfully grown Spanish football and built a loyal fan-base. Given the constantly shifting US market, we believe that even more growth is possible for LaLiga over the current cycle – not least with the 2026 FIFA World Cup on the horizon – and this agreement allows us to work with a new US partner that has bigger scale in the short term in this specific market."
SOURCE beIN SPORTS