In the past few months I’ve lamented the demise of handball TV viewing options in the U.S. First it was the German professional league (HBL) no longer being available on My Sports Germany. Then it was my frustration with the networks that had bought the rights to the HBL and Champions League, Univision Deportes and beIN Sport, and their apparent decisions not to broadcast what they had purchased.
Then last night the first piece of good news; An email from the EHF indicating that beIN Sport would be broadcasting Sunday’s Montpellier – Hamburg match on tape delay this Wednesday, along with “Rewind,” The Champions League highlight show. I dutifully logged on to my Dish Network account and added beIN Sport to my list of channels.
I wasn’t sure where beIN sport was on the channel guide so I typed “Handball” into the search engine so I could add the match to my DVR queue. My jaw dropped as the unexpected result was some channel called UDEP showing a match on Saturday and two on Sunday! It didn’t take me long to surmise that UDEP was Univision Deportes and that they too had joined beIN Sport in exercising their handball broadcast rights.
And a little further research really made my day as these 3 weekend matches were two more champions league matches (Barcelona vs. Minsk ; Madrid vs. Veszprem) and an HBL match (Kiel vs. Goppingen). And, these matches are all being shown live. This is almost too much good news for me to handle. I guess I’m going to start complaining about how these channels are not in High Definition (HD). Heck, why not? If all my other wishes can come true, why not HD too?
In terms of promoting the sport in the U.S. there’s a little downside it’s that these channels are a bit off the beaten path and not currently available with many cable outlets. As they do have some premium soccer content, though, there has been a clamoring in different parts of the country for cable companies to add them to their lineup. And, surely a few Team Handball voices won’t hurt the cause either. Below is some more information on how to get beIN Sport and Univision Deportes.
beIN Sport availability: Dish Network, Direct TV and Comcast More information
Univision Deportes availability: Dish Network, AT & T U-verse, Optimum and Verizon FiOS More information