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Qatar’s BeIN Sports names Saudi-based SMC MC as MENA advertising partner

Agreement covers all of broadcaster’s channels and includes 2022 Fifa World Cup.

27 October 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Deal reportedly worth approximately US$150m
  • Ties continue to strengthen between both countries after diplomatic tensions
  • Saudi’s PIF linked with bid for BeIN

Qatar-based sports broadcaster BeIN Sports has announced Saudi Arabian media representation firm SMC MC as its exclusive advertising partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

The agreement, which Reuters reports is worth in the region of US$150 million, covers all of BeIN’s channels and includes coverage of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, which is taking place in Qatar from 20th November to 18th December.

Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s national teams will compete in the tournament, with fans of the latter expected to visit in their tens of thousands.

The union also marks the latest reversal in relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia after diplomatic tensions between the two Gulf states.

The fallout saw BeIN banned from operating in Saudi Arabia. Relations further soured when the World Trade Organisation (WTO) released a report in 2020 which said the Saudi state had facilitated the operations of pirate broadcasting network BeoutQ, which had illegally aired sports BeIN held the rights to.

Saudi Arabia lifted BeIN’s ban last year and expressed its commitment to tackling BeoutQ and piracy, removing a major obstacle in the takeover of English soccer club Newcastle United by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Further signs of strengthening Qatar-Saudi ties emerged earlier this month when Bloomberg reported that PIF was eyeing an investment in BeIN. The sovereign wealth fund’s interest would aid the Saudi government with its ‘Vision 2030’ strategy, which is looking to reduce the country’s reliance on oil through economic diversification.

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