MIAMI — The Les Levi-led, Philip Falcone-controlled HC2 Broadcasting, which owns the Azteca América Spanish-language broadcast TV network, is making its entry into the ever-growing sports marketplace.
Thanks to an agreement with global brand beIN SPORTS, a new 24/7 live sports channel will be heading to viewers as a free-to-air venture — the first of its kind in the U.S.
Already on the air at HC2 stations in such DMAs as Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Hartford, Columbus, Las Vegas and Austin is beIN SPORTS XTRA, an English-language channel.
It marks an auspicious start to the new network, as HC2 Broadcasting has 195 operational stations in more than 130 U.S. markets, including 34 of the top 35 markets across the United States.
“Today marks a significant day as beIN SPORTS is now able to deliver the best in world-class sports to a new segment of fans on over-the-air television, where all that is required for access is an antenna to start watching live events for free,” said Antonio Briceño, beIN SPORTS Deputy Managing Director for North America. “We’re thrilled to be the first network to air advertiser-friendly live sports 24/7 on broadcast channels to nearly 7 million households. This milestone furthers our mission to deliver the highest quality sports content to the most viewers possible, regardless of platform.”
Speaking on behalf of HC2 Network is EVP Craig Geller, who from July 1995-January 2011 was SVP/Network and Digital Sales at NBCUniversal Media and from 2011-2014 was SVP of Ad Sales and Marketing for pioneering English-language Latino-targeted pay-TV channel NUVOtv.
“We are extremely excited to build upon our current partnership with beIN SPORTS in delivering the very first 24/7 premium sports channel OTA-focused on the general market sports fan,” said Geller. “HC2 Broadcasting recognized the changing media landscape and has built a best-in-class data and distribution platform for today’s top content providers to extend their reach to homes who have cut the cord or are cord-nevers. On launch, HC2 Broadcasting’s footprint will extend the beIN brand into these 15 key markets. At HC2 Broadcasting, we are committed to creating opportunities that connect and engage these coveted homes with our content partners and advertisers.”