Saudi Arabian displeasure towards Qatar has been evident since the Kingdom removed it from the quartet many years. But the displeasure is now being seen in the Kingdom trying to acquire the German football league Bundesliga.
Since 2015, Qatar-based broadcaster BeIN Sports has held Bundesliga rights across the MENA region in a five-year deal that is going to expire soon.
The Bundesliga, sometimes referred to as the Fußball-Bundesliga or 1. Bundesliga, is a professional association football league in Germany. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany’s primary football competition.
The idea of Saudi Arabia showing interest in ousting Qatar on this deal which costs almost US$50 million per season, also shows the Kingdom’s serious interest in investing into Sports. On the flipside, Saudi Arabia has said that it was actually the Bundesliga that approached the kingdom state as part of a wider effort to market league rights from 2020/21.
However, Saudi Arabia does not seem to have a sparkling image as the sports enthusiast that has been embroiled in violation of human rights when it comes to sports and its misconduct in its role in the BeoutQ pirate broadcast operation. An indictment was already issued for the latter by the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
But Saudi Arabia seems to be investing heavily into sports. Its Public Investment Fund (PIF) is currently trying to finalise a UK£300 million (US$374 million) takeover for Premier League club Newcastle United. It has all the intentions to host the 2027AFC Asian Cup national team soccer tournament, Ladies European Tour (LET) golf event, Supercoppa Italia and Spanish Super Cup.
However, this particular move shows a purposeful needling of Qatar.
BeIN chief executive Yousef Al-Obaidly has urged the Premier League to block PIF’s purchase of Newcastle, while also warning the sports industry that the ‘plague of piracy’ will see rights values plummet due to a loss of exclusivity.
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