It was only a matter of time before Conference USA and Al Jazeera were working hand in hand and that day has arrived.
Conference USA's new TV contract is coming into focus and it will involve four different networks, including one that's never broadcast American football before.
Sports Business Daily reported last week that C-USA was set to sign a deal with ESPN. The two-year-old American Sports Network will continue to play a role for the conference and multiple reports indicate that CBS Sports Network will still carry some games. The Huntington (W.Va.) Herald-Dispatch reported recently that Fox Sports will no longer have a deal with the conference.
On Tuesday, we found out that a surprise fourth network has entered into the picture for C-USA.
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Cable sports network beIN SPORTS announced that it has reached a deal with C-USA to air some of the league's football and basketball games this fall. The beIN network was created by the same people who started Al Jazeera, a news channel owned by the Qataris.
The Qatar-based network has long focused primarily on soccer (Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A) and it is a popular network among the game's fans, but this will mark the first time that it has carried American football.
The acquisition of C-USA football and basketball by beIN is an effort to boost its numbers in the United States, where it has struggled. According to medialifemagazine.com, beIN sports averaged just 15,000 total-day viewers in the first quarter of 2016.
The network is available to subscribers of AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS. Also, Sling TV and Play Station Vue users can subscribe to beIN SPORTS.