beIN Sports (Middle East TV network)
|beIN Sports MENA|
|Owned by||beIN Media Group|
(Al Jazeera Media Network)
|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)|
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,
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 Arabia
Beginning June 2017, as part of a diplomatic crisis over alleged funding of extremist groups by the Qatari government, beIN was banned from selling its subscriptions in Saudi Arabia, and the beIN Sports channels were briefly banned in the United Arab Emirates (the ban was reversed the following month).
In Saudi Arabia, a service known as beoutQ emerged soon afterwards, which repackages beIN Sports channels as their own by overlaying its own digital on-screen graphics on the feed. The service's associated decoder boxes and subscriptions are widely available across the country. While it primarily rebroadcasts beIN Sports content, the channels have obtained content from other sources, such as Eleven Sports and the U.S. Spanish-language broadcaster Telemundo. The channels have also broadcast anti-Qatar propaganda. The operation, which claims to be backed by Colombian and Cuban investors, has faced international criticism from sports leagues and sanctioning bodies, due to its retransmissions of copyrighted sports content and event coverage that was licensed exclusively to beIN Sports in the MENA region. Preliminary findings by beIN traced beoutQ's feeds to Arabsat satellites (whose frequencies are frequently promoted in beoutQ's advertising), although the provider has consistently denied that it is involved in the operation.
FIFA attempted to indirectly negotiate a deal with beIN (as MENA rightsholder) to sub-license rights to the opening match, final, and all Saudi team matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to a Saudi Arabian broadcaster. However, no deal was reached, and beoutQ ultimately broadcast the entire tournament from various sources, including beIN and the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (who was offering Arabic-language broadcasts). During the World Cup, beIN Sports commentators were accused by Saudi critics, including Turki Al-Sheikh (head of the General Sports Authority), of making on-air comments critical of the country. On 22 June 2018, minister Saud al-Qahtani stated that the Saudi Arabian Football Federation had filed a complaint with FIFA against beIN Sports' monopolization of sports broadcast rights in the MENA region. He also stated that the government had been confiscating beoutQ equipment, and would "conduct inspection campaigns in coordination with all relevant bodies to prevent any attempt to broadcast any illegal content."
FIFA, Ligue 1, the Premier League, and UEFA, have threatened legal actions targeting beoutQ. While it encountered difficulties finding legal representatives in Saudi Arabia due to the lack of diplomatic relationships, beIN has attempted to seek legal action against beoutQ via France and the United States. In August 2018, beIN presented further evidence, in consultation with Cisco Systems, Nagra, and Overon, that the beoutQ feeds originated from Arabsat. The report came after it was revealed that beoutQ had broadcast the entire opening fixture of the 2018–19 Premier League, and most of the opening fixture of the 2018–19 Ligue 1 season.
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. On 23 August 2018, beIN Sports' license to broadcast in Saudi Arabia was officially revoked.
During legal proceedings in the United States, beIN linked the beoutQ website to Saudi businessman Raed Khusheim, who is CEO of the UAE-based television provider Selevision. Khusheim denied the claims, arguing that it was a "smear campaign" by beIN stemming from business disputes. In November 2018, the BBC and Sky plc issued letters to European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström condemning beoutQ.
- "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 2017-09-05.
- "Olympic Channel announces BeIN tie-up". SportsProMedia. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
- Mariam Nabbout. "Saudi Arabia is launching its own sports TV network ... to compete with beIN The network will eventually include 11 channels". Retrieved 2017-06-19.
- Alkhalisi, Zahraa (8 June 2017). "Blocked in Dubai: Qatar cartoon and soccer channels". CNN. 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 2018-08-26.
- Wintour, Patrick (2018-08-21). "Premier League games 'screened illegally via Saudi satellite firm'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "BeoutQ illegally shows opening Premier League and Ligue 1 games". SportsPro. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- 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 2018-08-26.
- "Qatar's BeIN Sports Says It Has Proof of Saudi Role in Piracy Dispute". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Why Arabs are watching a pirated World Cup feed". The Economist. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- Vivarelli, Nick (2018-06-13). "World Cup: Diplomatic Crisis in Middle East Stokes Fears of Piracy". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Saudi considers legal action after 'politicised' beIN Sports World Cup coverage". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Saudis dismiss beIN Sports' FIFA World Cup TV piracy claim". ArabianBusiness.com. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "FIFA Accuses BeoutQ Of Illegally Broadcasting Games". Sports Business Daily. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Premier League gets tough with Saudi piracy". Gulf-Times (in Arabic). 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "BeIN Sports fined by Saudi authorities as BeoutQ row hots up". SportsPro. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- "Saudis ban beIN Sports". Advanced Television. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
- Stancati, Margherita (2018-09-06). "An Unlikely Victim of Saudi Arabia's Dispute With Qatar: TV Rights". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2018-09-25.
- "BBC and Sky call for EU action over BeoutQ piracy". SportsPro. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
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