EPL, La Liga, Champions League…a North American guide to watching it all
The 2012-13 season season sees some major changes in regard to where to watch your favorite team/league/competition from europe and beyond. Most football/soccer fanatics know exactly where to go but here is a small primer for the newer fans and perhaps those that took the summer off as far as keeping up with the broadcaster changes….
WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS –
CONCACAF…USA home matches are property of ESPN in English and Univision in Spanish. Mexico home matches are on Univision while away matches are on Telemundo. Other CONCACAF nations are controlled by Traffic Sports and most end up on PPV. New player, BeInSportsUSA have announced CONCACAF qualifying matches on its new network but not sure which matches it will show.
CONMEBOL…BeInSports owns the rights to the South American qualifiers. Previous rounds have been exclusively PPV but now its been announced that qualifiers will be on BeInSportsUSA.
EUROPE…Rights are sold by individual FA’s and a vast majority of qualifiers will find their way on espn3.com’s online service with many of the matches also on ESPN Deportes and 1-2 marquee matches on ESPN. These will always include home matches of Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Scotland, Portugal, France and others. FOX will have England home matches; GOL-TV will have Italy’s home matches (in English/Spanish) with RAI retaining the Italian language rights.
ASIA…Many matches – especially those from the Middle East – can be seen via Globecast satellite service at 97’W (Galaxy 19 satellite).
Worth noting that the 2014 World Cup in Brazil will be the last for ESPN and Telemundo who were outbid by FOX (english) and Telemundo (spanish) for the next 2 World Cups in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022).
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE –
Like last season, FOX SOCCER owns the Champions League rights in the USA. Every matchday, FocSoccerChannel, FoxSoccerPlus, FoxDeportes and regional FoxSports Networks will bring you EVERY match in the competition. In additional, matches not shown LIVE on the above mentioned network can be seen live (and in HD) on DirecTV on channels 480 through 489. FOX owns the rights through the 2014-2015 season.
EUROPA LEAGUE –
Major change coming this season (and for the next 3 seasons) for the Europa League. DirecTV are out as rightsholders and therefore their sublicensing of matches to GOL-TV will be no more. FoxSoccer channels will have exclusive coverage. Knowing the sheer number of matches in this competition, we hope to see a “Champions League” type of sharing of matches with DirecTV. Unlike the Champions league who’s broadcast rights begin with the Playoff round, the Europa League coverage on FOX starts with the Group Stages.
ENGLISH PREMIERSHIP –
No changes from last season with FOX and ESPN sharing rights (FOX are rightsholders with a sublicensing deal to ESPN). FOX will have a vast majority of matches with ESPN showing the early Saturday kickoff (substituting a 10am ET kickoff if no early kickoff) as well as Monday and midweek matches. Note: rights expire at the end of this season with bidding for the new cycle (2013-14; 2014-15; 2015-16 seasons) to be announced sometime in October 2012.
FA CUP also belongs to FOX; LEAGUE CUP on BeInSportsUSA; nPOWER CHAMPIONSHIP on BeInSportsUSA.
SPANISH LA LIGA –
For the next 3 seasons (through 2015) La Liga has a new home in the US – beInSportsUSA. As of this writing, the channel has only launched on satellite providers DirecTV and Dishnetwork. Unlike GOL-TV, which had the rights in the previous 3-year cycle, BeInSportsUSA does not seem willing to partner with another entity such as DirecTV. On the other hand, the opening weekend of action promises 9 out of the 10 matches LIVE on its network. On DirecTV, BeInSportsUSA has taken over the slots of GOL-TV (426 & 620), while on Dish it can be found on channel 408. Still plenty of questions remain as ointed out in a previos blog.
Copa del Rey is also property of BeInSportsUSA but please note that this does NOT include SuperCup matches as well as the Copa del Rey Final which should remain on ESPN.
ITALY – SERIE A –
Serie A sees the same shift as La Liga (and French Ligue1) to the new guy in town – BeInSportsUSA. With a clear emphasis on Spanish la Liga, Serie A fans may take a hit this season as many kickoff times – especially key evening matches – conflict with La Liga. This could see many Serie A matches relegated to delay-only. A clear division between BeInSport’s Spanish and English services could help but Barca and Real Madrid matches will always get presedence. To make matters worse, word from Italy at the time of this writing is that RAI Int’l will NOT be showing Serie A matches on its service (on Dish and some cable operators only). The change is not due to BeInSport’s presence but rather austerity measuress in Italy which is going through a tough recession. RAI’s unparalelled coverage would be solely missed if this happens.
COPPA ITALIA – this competition too switches to BeInSportsUSA.
FRANCE – LIGUE 1 –
The third of the big-3 properties purchased by BeInSportsUSA. But unlike La Liga or Serie A, BeInSports does NOT own the spanish language rights to Ligue 1 which were purchased by Univision last season and will last until the end of this upcoming season. TV5, the French language channel available on most International Packages, will continue showing 1 match every round on Saturdays.
GERMANY – BUNDESLIGA –
The Bundesliga remains GOL-TV’s only european league. GOL-TV on DirecTv has moved to make room for BeInSports. The new channel numbers are (456/spanish & 627/english). GOL-TV has been off of Dishnetworks for years following a fee dispute. GOL-TV sublicenses rights to 2 Bundesliga matches to ESPN which sees the matches on ESPN Deportes and espn3.com. Since bayern Munich remain the top draw and the channels alternate picks from week to week, you can expect Bayern to show up on GOL-TV one week and ESPND the next, etc. The biggest fear now is DirecTV dropping GOL-TV from the Sports Package and relegating them to the Spanish package which would be a big hit for all Bundesliga fans. For diehard fans (especially german-speaking ones) Dishnetwork offers My German TV+ which will show ALL German Bundesliga live – including Konferenz-style coverage on Saturday mornings during multiple matches. Its not in HD but could become the only way to see the league in the future.
THE REST OF EUROPE –
NETHERLANDS – League coverage continues on ESPN Deportes and espn3.com with 1 match per weekend.
PORTUGAL – RTP Int’l shows 1 match live and 1 on delay each weekend. Some systems offer special Portuguese soccer packages with coverage of 4-5 matches per weekend.
GREECE – Antenna and ERT World continue to provide excellent coverage of the Greek First Division. Available on Dishnetwork.
REST OF EUROPA – Polish, Romanian, Croatian, Serbian and other league coverage is available through providers such as Globecast as well as new IPTV services.
USA – MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER –
Simply put, every match is available to US viewers. On a national level, ESPN, NBCSports and Galavision show 1 match per week each. Other matches are available on regional sports channels as well as the MLS Direct Kick package which offers wall-to-wall coverage. In addition, CONCACAF Champions League – the regions competition – is covered by Fox Soccer Channel.
MEXICO – LIGA MX –
Again, all matches are viewable in the US (excluding Leon Club home matches currently in dispute). Matches are seen on the Univision family of networks (Univision, Univision Deportes, Galavision, Telefutura), Telemundo (Chivas home game which switch to Univision next season), Azteca America and Fox Deportes. GOL-TV has the rights to Mexico’s Seond Division and show 1 match per matchday.
SOUTH AMERICA –
No lack of coverage from South America. Here is a rundown of what is available: Argentinian league is extensively covered by TyCSports with River Plate or Boca Junior matches on GOL-TV; Brasileiro coverage is on GOL-TV and sublicensed to ESPN which shows matches on ESPND and espn3.com; Ecuador and Colombia have extensive coverage on country-specific channels which are available on several providers. COPA LIBERTADORES AND COPA SUDAMERICA coverage is exclusive to Fox Deportes.
ASIA – CHAMPIONS LEAGUE –
Asian Champions league is available exclusively on One World Sport available on Dishnetwork and other providers. besides the Champions League, One World Sport offers live coverage of the Korean and Japanese leagues.