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BeIN Sports secures MENA Formula One rights

03 March 2014 | Posted in Broadcast, Formula One, Motorsport, Global, Middle East | By David Cushnan

BeIN Sports has secured the broadcast rights to Formula One in the Middle East and North Africa until 2019, in the latest shot across the bows of rival Abu Dhabi Media.

BeIN Sports, formerly Al Jazeera Sport, will broadcast every race live, with coverage in both Arabic and English, starting with the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.

The supporting GP2 and Porsche Supercup championships are also included in the agreement.

Abu Dhabi Media Group has broadcast the sport in the region over the past four years, but signed only a one-year extension to its deal with Formula One in March last year. Losing the rights is another major blow to the broadcaster, which lost out to Al Jazeera in a bitter battle for Premier League rights in the Middle East for the next three years in July 2013.

As with the Premier League, BeIN Sports secured the Formula One package from the MP & Silva agency, which was contracted by Formula One Management in December to sell the rights on.
At the time, Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One Group's chief executive, said: “The purpose of this agreement is to help grow interest in Formula One throughout the Middle East and I am confident that MP & Silva can help us achieve that.”

Although there are no drivers from the region on the grid in 2014, the Middle East will again host two races this season. The Bahrain Grand Prix, which will be run for the first time under floodlights, in April while the popular twilight event in Abu Dhabi will be the final race of the year in November and worth double points, following a controversial rule change announced late last year.

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