BeIn Sports drops F1 coverage due to rampant piracy
February 11, 2019 08.00 Europe/London By Robert Briel
BeIn Sports has said it is not renewing its Formula 1 contract for the
Middle East and North Africa rights due to rampant piracy.
According to the broadcaster, the ongoing fight against piracy in Saudi
Arabia will have a “natural consequence” on the rights it chooses to
Tom Keaveny, BeIN’s managing director in the region, said that the
company will “pay less” for broadcast rights in the future in an effort
to combat “industrial-scale theft” carried out by the Saudi group.
Football authorities such as the Premier League, UEFA and FIFA have
started legal action in support of beIN, saying piracy is posing a
significant threat to the game’s financial health. Liberty Media, who
owns the F1 franchise, on the other hand, has been less proactive,
certainly in public, and that has clearly damaged relations with BeIn.
“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 reportedly paid between US$30 million to US$40 million a year for
live broadcast rights to Formula One between 2014 and 2019, which
represents roughly 7% of the series’ estimated broadcast income,
according to media analyst Richard Broughton at Ampere Analysis.