beIN Sports (Middle East TV network)
beIN Sports (Arabic: بي إن سبورتس العربية) is a group of sports channels based in Doha, Qatar, serving the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It is owned by beIN Media Group, a subsidiary of Al Jazeera Media Network. The channels primarily broadcast in Arabic, but it also offers feeds in English, French, and Spanish,
|beIN Sports MENA|
|Owned by||beIN Media Group|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Slogan||Change the game.|
|Broadcast area||Middle East and North Africa|
|Formerly called||Al Jazeera Sport (2003-2013)|
|Sister channel(s)||beIN Sports France|
beIN Sports USA
beIN Sports Canada
beIN Sports Australia
beIN Sports Spain
|Mozaic TV (Qatar)|
In July 2013, the network acquired MENA rights to the Premier League. On 4 September 2017, the IOC announced a partnership with beIN Sports to launch a local linear version of Olympic Channel for MENA on 1 November 2017.
There are 11 Arabic-language sports channels in the beIN Sports group:
- beIN Sports HD (free-to-air) (focused in Arabic football competitions)
- beIN Sports 1 (focused in UEFA, AFC, CAF, CONCACAF and FIFA competitions)
- beIN Sports 2 (focused in English domestic football competitions)
- beIN Sports 3 (focused in Spanish domestic football competitions)
- beIN Sports 4 (focused in Italian domestic football competitions)
- beIN Sports 5 (focused in German domestic football competitions)
- beIN Sports 6 (focused in French domestic football competitions)
- beIN Sports 7
- beIN Sports 8
- beIN Sports 9
- beIN Sports 10
Piracy in Saudi ArabiaEdit
In the wake of the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Qatar and other Arab nations, the beIN Sports channels were briefly banned in the United Arab Emirates in June 2017, and Saudi Arabia banned beIN from selling its subscriptions in the country. The channels have since become available in Saudi Arabia via an unofficial satellite service known as beoutQ, which repackages beIN Sports channels as their own by overlaying its own digital on-screen graphics on the feed. beIN has published evidence linking the service Arabsat, but its operators have consistently denied any involvement. The beoutQ service has been criticised by a number of sports sanctioning bodies and event organisers due to its commercial-scale copyright infringement.
On 2 October 2018, Qatar filed a case against Saudi Arabia with the World Trade Organization, citing violations of the TRIPS Agreement. The same day, beIN Media Group also initiated an investment arbitration lawsuit against Saudi Arabia seeking US$1 billion in damages, citing beoutQ and other measures decided to hinder its business in Saudi Arabia.
In February 2019, beIN's managing director stated that rightsholder stances on beoutQ's "industrial-scale theft" would be a consideration in future rights deals, and that it would also pay less because it can no longer guarantee that its rights would be protected. He went on to explain that "we have been warning of the very real commercial consequences of beoutQ's theft of world sport and entertainment for almost two years now – yet the piracy continues with impunity every day and represents an existential threat to the economic model of the sports and entertainment industry." In June 2019, beIN laid off 300 employees, citing the piracy issues as a factor. It also declined to renew its rights to Formula One, which were instead acquired by free-to-air satellite channel MBC Action.
Free-to-air boadcasters in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia decided against sub-licensing domestic rights to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations from beIN, considering the fees they were charging to be too exorbitant.
On 22 June 2018, minister Saud al-Qahtani stated that the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) had filed a complaint with FIFA against beIN Sports' monopolization of sports broadcast rights in the MENA region.
On 21 August 2018, beIN Sports was fined US$2.6 million by Saudi Arabia for violations of competition law, including forced bundling of its services with other unrelated channels. beIN responded to the fine by claiming it was politically-motivated, arguing that they were being "attacked by the Saudi authorities for doing exactly what sports and entertainment broadcasters around the world do, and indeed what other broadcasters active in the Saudi market also do", and that the actions were "another illegitimate attempt by Saudi Arabia to drive beIN's highly successful business from the country, putting politics ahead of the interests of Saudi consumers.", also factoring in the aforementioned beoutQ piracy operation. On 23 August 2018, beIN Sports' license to broadcast in Saudi Arabia was officially revoked.
On 12 March 2019, the SAFF announced that the Asian Football Confederation had stripped beIN Sports of its media rights in Saudi Arabia to "cancel" its monopoly on football, citing the "illegality of BeIN Sport [sic] to transmit in the Kingdom due to the grave violations of the laws and regulations BeIN Sport has committed", and "its inability to obtain the required licenses necessary for it to fulfil its commitments in transmitting AFC's competitions to the viewers and followers in the Kingdom". The AFC announced that it would "gradually" transition its media rights to an in-house digital platform, beginning with a Saudi Professional League match occurring that week. The AFC had previously condemned the aforementioned beoutQ for its illegal broadcasts of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. beIN subsequently announced that it would pursue legal action, accusing the AFC of apparent collusion with the SAFF to breach its media rights agreements.
- "Al Jazeera Sport rebranded beIN SPORTS". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "Al Jazeera Sport Buys English Premier League Soccer TV Rights for Middle East". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- "Olympic Channel announces BeIN tie-up". SportsProMedia. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
- Alkhalisi, Zahraa (8 June 2017). "Blocked in Dubai: Qatar cartoon and soccer channels". CNNMoney. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
- "UAE restores Qatar's BeIN sports network on air". Al Jazeera. 23 July 2017. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
- McCombe, Steven; Pennington, Roberta (22 July 2017). "BeIN Sports back on TV in the UAE". The National. Retrieved 13 August 2017.
- "World Cup pirates: Saudi Arabia's BeIN action threatens future of international sports broadcasting". SportsPro. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- Wintour, Patrick (21 August 2018). "Premier League games 'screened illegally via Saudi satellite firm'". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "BeoutQ illegally shows opening Premier League and Ligue 1 games". SportsPro. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- Panja, Tariq (9 May 2018). "The Brazen Bootlegging of a Multibillion-Dollar Sports Network". The New York Times.
- "NBCUniversal says FIFA World Cup broadcasts were stolen in Middle East". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "BeIN launches US$1bn suit against Saudi Arabia over BeoutQ 'piracy plague'". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
- "BeIn Sports launches $1 billion suit against Saudi Arabia". Broadband TV News. 2 October 2018. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
- "BeIN Sports lays off 300 jobs in Qatar in wake piracy issues". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 21 June 2019.
- "BeIN Sports opts out of F1 rights renewal amid BeoutQ stand-off". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 14 March 2019.
- "Dubai's MBC picks up F1 rights in Mena until 2023". SportBusiness Media. 18 March 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- "No Africa Cup of Nations for Maghreb-based TV stations". Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- "Saudis dismiss beIN Sports' FIFA World Cup TV piracy claim". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "FIFA Accuses BeoutQ Of Illegally Broadcasting Games". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "BeIN Sports fined by Saudi authorities as BeoutQ row hots up". SportsPro. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "Saudis ban beIN Sports". Advanced Television. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
- "AFC cancels BeIN Sports rights in Saudi Arabia". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
- "BeIN Sports to launch AFC legal action". SportsPro Media. Retrieved 22 June 2019.