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BeIN Sports streaming service launches on HC2 Holdings-owned multicast stations

beIN Media Group LLC is expanding distribution for its ad-supported streaming service in the U.S., reaching a deal with HC2 Holdings Inc. for carriage in 15 markets.

BeIN Sports Xtra, which offers a mix of European soccer matches and related content, is now available on multicast stations owned by HC2 in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland and Atlanta, among others. Deal terms were not disclosed, but the programmer said the agreement marks the first time a 24/7 sports channel is available on free-over-the-air broadcast television. The BeIN service debuted on Roku Inc. devices in the U.S. on Nov. 18.

The ad-supported, video-on-demand service is slated to roll out to ViacomCBS Inc-owned Pluto TV in early 2020. ViacomCBS on Dec. 20 announced a deal with BeIN Media Group to acquire a 49% stake in global film and television studio Miramax LLC for $375 million.

BeIN Sports Xtra, whose lineup includes coverage of soccer circuits in Spain, France and Turkey and the French women’s national team, as well adventure and combat sports, is scheduled to launch on three digital platforms in the first quarter, according to a BeIN Media spokeswoman.

In a recent interview, Roy Meyeringh, vice president of business development and affiliate sales for BeIN Sports in the U.S. and Canada, said the programmer's goal is to have BeIN SPORTS XTRA available to 60 million or more households in 2020. The game plan calls for the free streaming service to function as a vehicle to build brand awareness and sampling while driving carriage and subscribers to linear networks BeIN SPORTS (US) and BeIN SPORTS en Español (US).