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BeIN Sport Nearing Comcast Carriage Pact: Sources

BeIN Sport, which continues to acquire key soccer rights for its fledgling English- and Spanish-language sports networks, is nearing a carriage deal with Comcast.

According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the pact could be announced as soon as today.
BeIN Sport launched last week on DirecTV and Dish. The networks, owned by Al Jazeera Sports, hold the rights to top European circuits, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A and France's La Ligue 1, as well as South American World Cup qualifiers and the 2015 Copa America tournament.

Yesterday, it secured rights to U.S. men's national team away World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica on Sept. 7 and Antiqua and Barbuda on Oct. 12, from Brazil's Traffic Sports, which obtained the rights from CONCACAF, soccer's regional governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean.

BeIN Sport also now controls CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers in the upcoming leg, which will be presented on a delayed-basis.
Bill Gerth on the ComcastCares blog wrote the company is "currently working with beIN Sport so that we can offer more European soccer to Xfinity customers. We will keep you up-to-date."

Comcast executives declined further comment.

Officials representing BeIN Sport noted "all we can say is that a cable provider should be announced by the USA vs. Jamaica game Sept. 7."

BeIN Sport also has rights to U.S. men's national team away matches should it, as expected, advance to the final "hexagonal" round of World Cup qualifying, starting next February. Similarly, it has gained those rights for other CONCACAF sides, except for the Mexican national team. Ultimately, the qualifying will push three teams into the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

ESPN and Univision hold the home match rights to the U.S. team's World Cup qualifiers in this nation in English and  Spanish, respectively. Univision (home) and Telemundo (away) control the rights to the Mexican team's equivalent matches in the States.

Integrated Sports president Doug Jacobs said his company has World Cup qualifying match rights for matches involving El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in the next two months and will air them live on pay-per-view via pacts with In Demand, DirecTV and Dish, among other distributors.

For its part, BeIN Sport says it will be able to air those and other non-U.S. CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers on tape in September and October.

In addition to the U.S. team's away games, the two BeIN Sport networks will also be able to air the other CONCACAF hexagonal matches, excluding Mexico's, live in 2013.