Simon Bird and Steve Bates are reporting in the Mirror today that Saudi Arabia will make an attempt to get the Premier League TV rights once they become available in 2022.
That should help to clean up the mess caused by Saudi station beoutQ allegedly pirating the Premier League games from beIn Sports in Qatar.
But this is not new news and has been reported before that the Saudis are willing to bid for the TV broadcast rights for the Middle East and North Africa.
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has recently ruled that the Saudi Arabia government are linked to the illegal streaming of the Premier League games and other sporting events.
That could cause some problems with the government’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) funding 80% of the takeover deal of £300M for Newcastle United.
But we keep being told the buyers are confident the deal will still go through and that no red flags have been raised by the Premier League.
We hope they are right about that.
The current Premier League TV deal for the Middle East and North Africa has two years left to run, and negotiations for the next three-year deal will begin next year.
The current three-year deal was won by beIN Sports’ and is for £500M, and that’s almost certain to go up with Saudi Arabia being in the bidding.
That’s presumably what the Premier League want: higher fees for broadcasting the games around the world.
The broadcast fee will rise significantly because Saudi Arabia will be bidding against their geopolitical rivals Qatar – their neighbors, and there’s certainly no love lost between the two countries.
If Saudi Arabia do win the deal, we wonder what will happen to Richard Keys.
Just a thought.
And no – he will not become a director on Newcastle’s board.