Watching “soccer” as we call it in the states has just gotten easier, with a catch. BAMTech, a streaming technology provider joint venture between Baseball Advanced Media, The Walt Disney Company, and the National Hockey League have made a deal to acquire the rights to stream the English Championship and Cup games.
beIN SPORTS will subsequently not broadcast any 2017/18 Championship games. BAMTech then made a separate agreement with ESPN to carry an average of 3-4 Championship games on ESPN3 every weekend. However, there’s a catch:
“Unfortunately there are some clubs who are decided to not offer the iFollow streaming services to their supporters. Those clubs are Accrington Stanley, Aston Villa, Birmingham City, Bristol City, Charlton Athletic, Derby County, Fulham, Hull City, Forest Green Rovers, Leeds United, Middlesbrough, QPR, Sunderland and Wolverhampton Wanderers.”
The article goes on to say that the league games that are shown in the US on ESPN3 will not be on iFollow. This, of course, is for any clubs that are using iFollow to stream their games for the international audience. Of course, Leeds United have LUTV, which already faced its first problem before the actual season started.
However, Bolton is a club that currently is a part of the agreement, so the first game of the season can be found on ESPN3, but you’ll learn more about the game when we post out regular match preview. However, while it will be nice to see Leeds playing on ESPN, I’ll most likely be resorting to the good ol’ back alley livestream to watch my games. LUTV sounds enticing and I’ll more than likely use the service when it’s fully functioning but for now… let's just say I’m inclined to spend my money elsewhere. As far as football in general goes, I think this is a step in the right direction. ESPN’s quality of content has dropped off a lot in the recent years, but the company is still seen at the HQ of Sports on TV. Making a deal to get affiliated with ESPN is a great way to give exposure to the lower league of English football, and can hopefully produce more fans both in the states and around the world.