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Thu 2 Jan 2014 10:10 AM

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Al Jazeera Sport rebrands as beIN Sport

Gulf broadcaster paid upwards of $300m for live English Premier League rights

Al Jazeera Sport rebrands as beIN Sport

Qatari network Al Jazeera Sport has rebranded its package of channels across the Middle East and North Africa as beIN Sport, bringing them in line with the broadcaster’s assets elsewhere in the world.

The Gulf broadcaster, which last year paid upwards of $300m to secure the live TV rights to England’s Premier League for the region, made the switch on Wednesday with little in the way of a pre-announcement.

The pay-per-view network under its new guise will operate 19 high-definition channels, with presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys remaining in place.

The brand beIN Sport was initially unveiled by Qatari Sports Investment, the parent company of Al Jazeera Sport, in 2012 following the acquisition of live broadcasting rights to France’s Ligue 1 football league. The network currently operates in markets including France, the US and Indonesia, with online streaming services in Canada. It also holds the rights to broadcast live sports including rugby league and the Superbike World Championship.

In November last year Al Jazeera temporarily saw its live coverage of England’s Premier League in the region limited as a result of illicit access to its satellite feeds from the UK.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the organising body for the top tier of English football requested that Al Jazeera reduce its coverage on Saturdays to just one 15:00 match, rather than the full roster. The decision means that subscribers, who pay around AED60 ($16) per month for Premier League coverage, will only be able to watch about half of the season’s remaining fixtures.

A source told the WSJ that the measure had been put in place as Al Jazeera subscription cards were being sold and shipped to the UK, where owners of bars and pubs were using them with generic set-top boxes to receive Al Jazeera’s live feed.

footifan 5 years ago

The organizing body can and should request other broadcasters in other countries to follow Al Jazeera to show all matches LIVE. why should a subscriber pay and watch teams other than theirs on Sat!?.

Anonymous 5 years ago

Yesterday there was no English commentary for any of the EPL games. What happened? I didn't see any English commentary after the matches either. What is going on??? Anyone?

Monkey Tennis 5 years ago

No English commentary and contrary to footifan's comment, I understand due to problems with security all the matches on a Saturday are not live on-line; only one is selected. In addition, the on-line streaming for the Chelsea/Liverpool match was a total disgrace and we stopped watching at half time. The switch to BeIn was not well handled either - it took me a good fifteen minutes to work out what was going on because the fixture guide wasn't working and half the channels reported errors. When it works I really enjoy this coverage - much, much better than ADMC but there are too many technical gremlins in the Internet-based services at the moment; get them sorted please or think about a discount for next year's package for those of us who have had to endure the teething problems. YNWA.


Adam 5 years ago

footifan - Because in English there is a rich history of footballing tradition dating back 150 years. The rule has always been that no 3pm games will be broadcast in the UK to protect local teams.

There are 92 total teams in the Football League (72 outside the Premier League). If fans of all those teams can stay home and watch Premier League games, then attendances at the other 72 teams will most probably suffer (as well as some of the 20 Premier League teams), which in turn creates an even bigger gap between the Premier League and the rest of the 72 since they would lose vital revenue from ticket sales.

The FA/Premier League sell the rights and do not sell more than one 3pm kick off to European Broadcasters, as all European satellites are easily accessible form the UK.

Hope that clears it up and you can now see the method behind the madness!

Monkey Tennis 5 years ago

So Adam please explain why did they sell the rights to televise every single Saturday match in the first place and how I could watch every single Saturday 3 p.m. kick off earlier in the season before Al J got pulled up over security? At the same time given television didn't exist 150 years ago and the first ever football match was televised 79 years ago I'd love to know what this 150 years of tradition relates to. Other than that thanks for your insight.

EPL Fan 5 years ago

Al Jazeera/BeIn Sports ripping us off again. No English coverage in HD. I paid up a year subscirption to receive HD coverage. Richard Keys was boasting about BeIn having 19HD channels available...not sure what thats all about cause I still only gave 6. Ofcourse when I'll call BeIn they'll tell me I now have to pay extra...

Ali 5 years ago

I find it interesting how people are demanding English commentary from an Arabic channel while sitting in an Arabic country

nimby 5 years ago

@Ali
How so?
They changed their name from Al Jazeera to an English name to be more global. They show English Premier League matches and others.
If they clearly want to be global, why not offer language options? That is not difficult to do.
Just depends if you are global or parochial. We know what you are.

Kumar G 5 years ago

Yes Ali, we do demand english commentary as we have paid for this service. Only arabic commentary is a breach of contract since we pay for the service a year in advance and do not expect to get conned due to rebranding. It does not matter where we reside nor does it stand in good stead when AJSC/BeInSports claims to be internationally recorginsed/viewed. You cannot expect the expatriate viewers paying for this sevice to be conned to such a great extent!!
Look forward to AJSC/BeInSports to rectify this situation and provide language selection as before especially since they now expect to raise their subscription fees.
With regards to Keys/Gray, their are only mouthpieces for their employers.

Ponder 5 years ago

Because they were promised it and they paid for it.

Simple!