BeIN Media drops distribution of German Bundesliga football, over piracy

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BeIN Media Group has elected not to renew carriage of German Bundesliga football (soccer) programming in 24 countries in the Middle East and North Africa.  According to reports, a five year deal was abandoned by beIN Sports out of concern for piracy.

beIN had suffered huge losses in recent years due to a geopolitical dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia; which resulted in unlicensed distribution by beoutQ, a clandestine distributor located in Saudi Arabia.

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The beoutQ situation also was catalyst for the failure of a bid by the Saudi Public Investment Fund to purchase Newcastle United, an English Premier League club whose programming was distributed via beoutQ without license.

Further reading

BeIN declines to renew Bundesliga rights over MENA piracy concerns.  Article. by Tom Bassam. September 22, 2020. SportsPro

Why it matters

Without its beIN Media partnership, Bundesliga lacks a broadcast partner in Middle East / North Africa markets.  Bundesliga’s previous 200 Million Euro contract gave beIN Media the rights to distribute 306 Bundesliga matches, DFL Supercup and Bundesliga playoff matches in that region.  beIN Media also had exclusive digital distribution rights.

While piracy is well documented to cause revenue loss due to the theft of programming, services and advertising, this is a rare public admission that the relationship was not renewed due to concerns for piracy.

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