2017 Edition: How to Legitimately Watch the Giro d'Italia (and other races) from the United States and Canada
May 1 update:
As in previous years, explaining the state of Giro d'Italia North America broadcast options will require some explanation and your undivided attention.
After a lackluster effort at broadcasting races in the United States, Bein Sports decided not to bid on the RCS (Italian) races and Flanders classics that came up for renewal this past year. Instead, the upstart streaming service fubo.tv, which continues to be a streaming partner with Bein Sports, has stepped up and bought U.S. (and Canadian) cycling rights to races for the next four years:
The passing of the rights to fubo.tv will have some advantages and unanticipated disadvantages. Fubo.tv is an Over-the-top (OTT) provider/ legitimate internet streamer in the market that attracts cord cutters. There are companies that have attracted more online subscribers, but fubo.tv seems to moving faster at implementing new technology such as online DVR. Broadcasting all the RCS/Italian and Flanders races from a well organized viewer guide should appeal to bike racing fans in North America. Also, their is no complicated authentication process or additional software (like Flash and Silverlight) required. However, the transition to fubo.tv will have some non-technology complications.
Last fall, when fubo.tv was acquiring cycling rights, they also expanded from their soccer base into news, sports and entertainment channels (see left). Not all big U.S. media companies are ready to fully embrace the ala-carte nature of online streaming and therefore you'll notice that all OTT services such as fubo.tv, sling.tv and youtube.tv will have a core bundle of channels which represents the minium service package. In particular, fubo.tv's network agreements with FOX and NBC prevent them from offering a cycling only package. Any package fubo.tv adds in the U.S. will require the core bundle of channels to be purchased as well. This is the reason for the price increase to watch the Giro d'Italia. The fubo.tv cycling package is only $8.99, but you have to buy the 55 channel core bundle at $34.95 to get it. (Canadian viewers will not be subject to this same core bundle requirement and will pay $24.98 for cycling plus a few other channels). The U.S. bundle includes NBCSN and Universal HD which will give you live streaming of the Tour de France, Tour of California and delayed broadcasts/highlights from other ASO races including the Vuelta a Espana and Paris-Roubaix. As the big media companies monopoly unravels expect to able to buy individual channels in the near future. It is hoped this change will happen within the next 2-3 years. Fubo.tv would prefer to offer a cycling only package and will do so when they can.
Those cord cutting bike racing fans looking to get back their regular news, sports and entertainment channels with a DVR option to boot will find a $44 package of 55 channels plus cycling a good value. But those used to buying and viewing cycling online in the true sense of 'a la carte' have already voiced their disappointment at the increase in price over last year's fubo.tv pricing for the Giro d'Italia. Fortunately, Fubo.tv only requires a monthly commitment and at the end of May you can cancel your service if you don't see the benefits carrying forward. Chances are you pay more than $34.95 for their core bundle through a traditional cable, telco or satellite operator. So why not put your current plan on hold for at least a month and give fubo.tv a try. You can also share your fubo.tv subscription with a few family members and friends, each able to watch different programmes at the same time. — Steve
May 4 update:
The DVR feature is now working for cycling apparently. — Steve
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