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Report: Premier League agrees to renew BeIN MENA rights deal

Three-year extension comes as Qatar-based broadcaster remains blocked in Saudi Arabia.

5 April 2023 Ed Dixon

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  • Contract will kick in from 2025/26 season
  • Deal expected to be completed in the next few weeks

The Premier League has agreed to extend its broadcast partnership in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region with Qatar-based BeIN Sports, according to the Daily Mail.

The three-year deal has reportedly been agreed in principal and will kick in from the 2025/26 season. The value of the new contract has not been revealed, but the Premier League’s current tie-up with BeIN is believed to be worth around US$500 million over the three years of the 2022 to 2025 rights cycle.

BeIN’s existing pact with English soccer’s top tier gives the pay-TV broadcaster rights to all of the league’s 380 fixtures per season across 24 countries in the MENA region, including Saudi Arabia.

Top-flight clubs purportedly gave the Premier League the go-ahead to conclude a deal at least week’s shareholders meeting and it is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.

Update: BeIN told SportsPro it would not be commenting specifically on the report but confirmed no deal has been signed or finalised, adding that it has been given a mandate from clubs to negotiate with the Premier League.

SportsPro says…

This deal would be a setback for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the owner of Newcastle United.

Saudi Arabia has blocked the TOD.tv streaming service owned by BeIN Sports since the start of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in November and there has been no indication since it has reversed that decision. The Daily Mail adds that Saudi Arabia has been blocking BeIN’s TV coverage in the country since December due to ongoing diplomatic tensions with Qatar. Saudi Arabia initially banned BeIN transmissions from 2017 to 2021.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia had been accused of not doing enough to combat illegal broadcasts, most notably from BeoutQ, that infringed BeIN Sports’ rights. The Saudi government and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) reaffirmed their commitment to cracking down on such activity ahead of PIF’s Newcastle acquisition.

The fallout over the World Cup coverage came a month after Bloomberg reported PIF was interested in investing in BeIN Sports to help assist the Saudi government’s ‘Vision 2030’ strategy, which wants to cut the country’s dependence on oil through diversification.

However, the Daily Mail states that BeIN is refusing to negotiate with PIF. Should the Qatari broadcaster secure its Premier League rights extension, watching Newcastle legally in Saudi Arabia will, in theory, remain impossible. That would be a blow for PIF’s ambitions to grow the Magpies brand in the kingdom.

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