Qatar-based beIN Sports ditches Formula 1 broadcast
The pirates have destroyed the golden goose in their countries
Qatar-based beIN Sports said on Friday it had decided not to renew a contract for the rights to broadcast Formula One in the Middle East and North Africa as a consequence of piracy in the region.
Bloomberg report that the previous five-year deal expired at the end of last season, but the 2014 to 2019 deal for live F1 broadcast rights was worth $30-million to $40-million a year, according to people with knowledge of the terms.
That’s as much as 7 percent of Formula One’s estimated broadcast income, said media analyst Richard Broughton at Ampere Analysis quoted in the report.
The 21-race 2019 world championship starts in Australia on March 17.
BeIN Sports, which also has the local rights to the Premier League and other major football leagues and tournaments, has urged sports bodies to take legal action in Saudi Arabia against illegal broadcasts.
The television channel ‘BeoutQ’ emerged in 2017 after Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar, accusing the tiny Gulf state of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.
BeoutQ is widely available in Saudi Arabia but Riyadh says it is not based there and that the authorities are committed to fighting piracy. It is unclear who owns or operates the channel.
“A rights holder’s stance on beoutQ’s piracy — in other words whether they’re taking legal action, making a public stand, and doing everything within their power to combat the industrial-scale theft of their rights — is a critical factor that we’re now considering when bidding,” beIN MENA managing director Tom Keaveny said in a statement.
Keaveny said beIN, a pay-TV broadcaster, paid huge sums for media rights and had been warning for nearly two years of the commercial impact of piracy. BeIN would pay less for rights that cannot be protected, he said.
Formula One, which holds lucrative races in Saudi regional allies Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, declined to comment on the suggestion that it had not done enough to combat beoutQ. grandprix247
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