I don't want this to get too buried amid the other stories I've written today, which is part of why I've saved it for last and broken it out separately.
I traded e-mails with a spokesperson at Comcast this afternoon regarding their plans to start carrying the al-Jazeera-owned soccer channel beINSport. The two sides agreed a carriage deal last week, but it was never quite made clear when the channel actually would show up on on local televisions.
That got many soccer fans nervous, as beINSport has the exclusive rights to the U.S. men's national team's big World Cup qualifying game at Jamaica on Friday, Sept. 7.
Well, you can calm down now. I was told that Comcast plans to have the channel up and running by September 6. It will only be available in standard definition, and you'll have to subscribe to the sports channel tier to get it.
But at least it will be available. That's what matters most. You can complain about the lack of a HD feed if you want, but I'd rather watch a game on an accessible cable tier in standard definition than have to buy it on pay-per-view.
And in case you forgot, one of the biggest games of the last World Cup qualifying cycle was only available on closed-circuit. You could only watch the U.S.' game at Honduras - in which it officially qualified for the 2010 World Cup - by going out to a limited range of bars and restaurants.
beINSport has the rights to all of the U.S.' road World Cup qualifying games except for a possible (okay, likely) game in Mexico. The network's carriage deals might not be ideal right now, but it's continuing to expand. I'll take their situation over pay-per-view or closed-circuit any time.