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The Cristiano Ronaldo Effect



When I heard the news that Cristiano Ronaldo was going to Juve, my second thought was that it would mean greater access to Serie A fans for all of us. (The first thought, of course, being that they should just award the Scudetto in August before the season kicks off.) It turns out that at least for American fans, it is going to work out very well for us. Yesterday, it was announced that ESPN has purchased the exclusive rights to Serie A beginning this season. With far more resources than the shambolic BeIN Sports USA, this means that we will all have far more access to our games. I like to call it the Cristiano Ronaldo effect.

Blessing fans of all Serie A clubs

The new deal isn’t perfect. They are only going to broadcast one game per week on television, the other games will be streamed on ESPN+. ESPN+ is a streaming service they’ve launched with will cost you $4.99 US to access. The key word there being access. Something many of us didn’t have with BeIN Sports USA.

When BeIN Sports USA first acquired the rights to Serie A, most cable and satellite providers did not carry BeIN. And rather than attempt to strike a deal with them like most channels do, they left it up to the fans. If we wanted to watch Serie A, we had to pester our providers to pick up their stupid channel. That took a year for my provider, but when I was forced to switched providers, the new provider didn’t have BeIN either. And even when I was finally able to access BeIN, the new provider didn’t have access to the BeIN Connect streaming options, where most of the games were shown.

One day you're IN, the next day you're out. Thanks for nothing.

Long story short, last year I ended up subscribing to FuboTV, a streaming service that allows you to record matches. It was a massive $45 US per month… on top of my internet and cable bill. But hey, I got to watch the games. That’s not even mentioning the $15 US I pay to have Italian SlingTV so that I also had access to RAI to watch the games that BeIN didn’t show. And speaking of which, if cable or satellite is not your thing, it looks like Sling Orange carries the ESPN channels you’ll need this year and now costs $25 US per month.

If you are in the United States and want to know when and where the matches will be broadcast, you can check this list, compiled by World Soccer Talk. There are some errors as to games and friendlies that have already been rescheduled, but for the most part, you can see which games will be broadcast and on which channels.

Massive resources means better access to our games

This deal is massive for fans here in the U.S. It’s giving a giant two-footed tackle to the arrogant and uncaring BeIN Sports, even if Serie A may be treated like a late sub by ESPN compared to other sports. But if we are lucky, Serie A will deliver and fans will respond, and coverage will get even better. Until then, this gives all of us an affordable way to access most every Serie A match this season, whether it be on our TV, on our computers, tablets, or phones. And for that access, we can thank in part Juventus’ premium signing this year. It’s the Cristiano Ronaldo effect.


This post inspired by the music of Black Flag’s “TV Party”


Our next match is
the Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu
Real Madrid vs. AC Milan
Saturday, August 11 • 21:00 CEST (3pm EDT)