Last weekend reminded us that this truism is still very valid: never get between an American and his television. As the clock ticked and conflicting information reigned, for a time it looked as if WSBK may not be televised in the US last week, and the response in some corners was almost a bit unhinged. All was saved when WSBK was indeed televised--and streamed--by beIN Sport.
Viewer feedback to Soup indicated beIN Sport, the new home of World Superbike television coverage in the United States, offered a solid broadcast of the WSBK season opener Saturday night at Phillip Island that was superior to SPEED's previous coverage in many ways.
First, the race was shown live. SPEED's coverage was almost always on same-day delay. Second, the race was shown without commercial interruption. Finally, many viewers complimented the quality of beIN Sport's high-definition feed, calling it superior to the feed provided to SPEED by WSBK organizers last year.
But that progress will mean little to WSBK fans in America and the growth of the series in the States if beIN Sport doesn't expand its tiny viewer base on these shores. The network, co-owned by Al Jazeera, is a premium-tier channel on nearly all cable systems and satellite services - requiring an extra fee above the already-larcenous fees TV operators demand from customers.
beIN Sport streamed the two races from Phillip Island live from its website, which could encourage WSBK fans to call or write their cable or dish providers and urge them to carry the fledgling network.