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Saudi-Egyptian sports alliance to replace blocked Qatari beIN Sports

JEDDAH: The frequency of a new unencrypted sports TV network that will replace the blocked Qatari beIN Sports is set to be announced on Wednesday, Saudi Media City Chairman Muflih Al-Hafatah said on Twitter.
PBS Sport is launching in the region on Arabsat in alliance with Egypt and will be based in Cairo. Al-Hafatah described the channels as “Egyptian with a 100 percent Saudi capital.”
He tweeted: “New channels will be free as much as possible in accordance with what international laws permit.” He added that if encryption is required, the prices will be affordable for everyone.
A press conference is due to take place after next week’s Eid holiday, to offer further details about the new sports channels, Al-Hafatah said. The new PBS network will include 11 channels in high definition (HD). All channels will use the 4K-resolution technology.
PBS Sport announced on its official Twitter account that it has signed a contract with the Argentinian veteran footballer Diego Maradona to join the team of sports analysts, as well as the Saudi retired footballer Nawaf Al-Temyat.
The new channels will provide sports fanatics with a new service after the blocking or restriction placed on Qatar’s beIN sports channels, along with arms of the Al Jazeera news channel, in some countries amid the ongoing diplomatic row in the Gulf.
“Away from politics and ranging of our policies in our homeland, we won’t allow a state that sponsors terrorism to monopolize television entertainment in our Arab countries,” Al-Hafatah tweeted, in reference to Qatar.
The Qatar network broadcasts popular football tournaments such as Spanish La Liga and Copa del Rey, UEFA Europa League, and English Premier League.
Prices announced on the PBS Sport Twitter account are SR80 ($21) for monthly subscriptions, SR400 ($106) for six months and SR750 ($200) for a year.
What potential subscribers are looking for from the new service is a variety of sports analysis and commentary, and high quality in the broadcasting of games.
“Fast planning to establish high-quality new sports channels is challenging and needs time and preparation,” Khalid Attiya, 43-year-old football tournaments enthusiast, told Arab News.
Attiya currently has a beIN Sports subscription that he renewed on May 1, a month before the Qatari crisis, for which he paid SR1,350 ($360).
“I have not received any notification that my current subscription would be suspended,” he added.
Among the rights that beIN Sports has already bought were the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup matches.
Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad had previously said that Saudis working at Qatar’s beIN would be compensated with local jobs in parallel positions.
The upcoming PBS Sport channels are now accepting job applications from new talents, particularly commentators and presenters, the PBS Sport Twitter account posted.