As the always marginally funny Jerry Seinfeld might say, what is the deal with the beIN Sport network?
There's this giant rock I've been hiding under. I blame it on Triskaidekaphobia syndrome. But waking up to a blizzard of unceasing proportions has forced me to change my approach to football writing and viewership.
Well, there's this whole beIN network that's changing the face of football broadcasting in North America, too.
Next came news of an epic match-fixing scandal the likes the globe has never seen. Is it any wonder that behind the curtain of pretty much anything involving money and entertainment, there is a greedy little organ-player duping us all.
We all take the bait because real life is just that banal.
OK, enough. Let's talk this beIN Network celluloid business for a minute. It dovetails nicely with the whole match-fixing money mockery anyhow.
beIN is slick, sleek and futuristic. The newsroom looks like the bridge from the Starship Enterprise. There's Terri Leigh to look at it and a couple of other buxom beauties alongside some cocksure anchormen—Kara Lang is still the apple of our eye, though.
Securing the rights to the oft-maligned Serie A was a timely measure. Seeing Mario Balotelli's return to Milan was simply something Fox Soccer could not offer. Things seem to be coming up roses for the Al-Jazeera-backed outfit already.
With the global appeal of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Radamel Falcao currently outpacing some of the bigger names of the BPL, beIN's exclusive La Liga BBVA rights are something of a coup as well.
David Beckham's signing with PSG also bodes well for the network with exclusive North American Ligue 1 rights in tow.
There's just so much gloss in football broadcasting these days, and while the breadth of beIN's programming is impressive (anything from FIBA to European Volleyball to Formula 1), we still yearn for simpler times—those hazy days when sport was sport and two teams actually vied for a meaningful outcome.
OK, shady dealings in the sports world are nothing new.
We always had our suspicions about the WWF nature of sports. The spreads, the money lines and the over/unders are just so enticing.
The older we get, watching sports just becomes more and more like a soul-crushing visit deep in the bowels of Emerald City. We used to go off to see the Wizard at Fenway Park, Anfield or Madison Square Guarden. Now, we're forced to face the monumental mularkey much of this business is—if we only had a brain.
I can't wait for the live match-fixing prompt on FIFA 14. Which referees to bribe, which players and managers to be bought, which crime syndicate to align yourself with in order to maximize profits.
But, alas, I start down the path of the angry straw man.
Surely, there's still some honor in sporting events. It's not all negative spiral. Is it?
The beIN Network is the future of football. And while that future may involve many matches being determined by the highest bidder (minus any subterfuge or clandestine activity), beIN has a host of class commentators and a fresh approach (Phil Schoen and the ever subtle Ray Hudson remain as holdovers from Gol TV). And it looks fancy.
People like fancy.
When the shine and new car smell wear off, we'll see what this network truly brings to the table. We're not saying there's a new sheriff in town, but Fox Soccer and the BPL certainly have some bona fide competition, footie fans.