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UEFA and beIN sign new TV deal for Middle East and North Africa regions

By on June 10, 2021 0

What does the agreement cover?

BeIN holds the exclusive live rights to all UEFA club and international competitions, including the 2022 World Cup European qualifiers in Qatar, in 24 countries, from Morocco to Oman.

And Saudi Arabia?

The new deal shows that UEFA is not backing down in its row with Saudi Arabia over the kingdom’s failure to shut down beoutQ, the highly sophisticated hacking operation that began stealing beIN’s stream after the Qatar fell out with its neighbors in 2017, or to reestablish beIN now that relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia are improving.

Last year, the World Trade Organization ruled that Saudi Arabia actively encouraged and supported beoutQ in violation of international law protecting intellectual property.

Earlier this year, UEFA – along with other rights holders – wrote to the U.S. government urging it to keep Saudi Arabia on its intellectual property rights blacklist.

UEFA also ignored a larger financial offer for its MENA rights from an undisclosed Saudi broadcaster.

The decision to renew with beIN will be seen as a reward for the company’s long-term support – it also owns the rights to UEFA in France and several Asian markets – and a personal “thank you” to beIN chairman Nasser Al -Khelaifi for his role. to defeat the threat of the European Super League.

Al-Khelaifi is also the president of Paris Saint-Germain, the French team that turned down a breakaway league spot, and became the boss of the European Club Association when its former leader, Juve owner Andrea Agnelli, has resigned to lead the ESL. ECA and UEFA have worked closely together on a radical overhaul of European club competitions from 2024.

What does this mean for UEFA?

As mentioned, the value of the deal is slightly lower than the current deal, but this is in line with market expectations as the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1 have recently seen their rights drop in value.

In this context, maintaining the relationship with beIN Sports, one of the world’s biggest spenders on premium sports rights, at a decent rate is a victory for UEFA and its chairman Aleksander Ceferin.

Like every other sports organization on the planet, UEFA’s finances have been hit hard by COVID-19, so this deal brings much-needed certainty. Broadcasting represents 85% of UEFA’s total revenue.

The new deal is also important for women’s sport, as beIN is committed to spreading the Women’s Champions League throughout the MENA region.

The rejection of the Saudi offer will also be seen as UEFA’s response to Saudi Arabia’s support for a FIFA plan to host the Men’s World Cup every two years, which would clearly harm the League. Nations and other UEFA competitions.

(Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP via Getty Images)

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