Qatar-based beIN Sports has penned a three-year extension to its English Premier League TV rights deal, ensuring it will remain the Middle East and North Africa’s exclusive broadcaster until 2022.
Its new deal covers the 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22 Premier League campaigns – with 380 matches per season to be shown live on beIN Sports.
The channel’s OTT service beIN Connect will enable subscribers to have access to all Premier League content, including the live streaming of matches, across web, tablet and mobile devices.
English Premier League TV rights are the most sought after in world football and the extension is a major coup for beIN Sports, which has had a tumultuous time since the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours erupted last year.
The broadcaster went off air in the UAE ahead of the 2017-18 Premier league season but returned in time for the start of the campaign, while there were also concerns that beIN Sports would freeze out UAE providers ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
On both occasions, access to beIN Sports for customers in the UAE resumed, but the channel remains off the air in Saudi Arabia.
During this summer’s World Cup, the Saudi Football Federation complained to FIFA about beIN Sports, claiming it used broadcasts as a means of spreading political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
Conversely, Qatar has accused Saudi Arabia of being behind pirate TV channel BeoutQ, which illegally broadcast World Cup matches.
Both sides have vehemently denied the respective allegations and there is no question that ill feeling remains.
As well as English Premier League rights, the portfolio of beIN Sports includes Spain’s LaLiga, the German Bundesliga, French Ligue 1 and Italy’s Serie A – as well all major international club and country competitions, including the UEFA Champions League and Europa League.