Soccer bonanza: Saudi national league matches to be free-to-air

Saudi fans wave the national flag and chant during the 2018 World Cup qualifying football match between Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium in Jeddah on October 11 2016 . (AFP)
Updated 04 October 2017
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Soccer bonanza: Saudi national league matches to be free-to-air

JEDDAH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered all the Kingdom’s football league matches be free-to-air, stressing that it is people’s right to watch the league at no cost.
Turki Al-Asheikh, head of the General Sports Authority and adviser at the Royal Court, said the crown prince has instructed the authority not to encrypt matches and deprive Saudis of watching their favorite teams playing.
“The crown prince directed that citizens should (be able to) watch the league for free and we are now looking for a mechanism that benefits all parties concerned: Sports clubs and carrier/broadcasters without affecting the people,” Al-Asheikh said in an interview on “Action Ya Dawry,” sports show.
“So the matches will be free. There may be some encryption for broadcasting the highest quality, exclusive programs, specific analysis studios and software services to benefit the sports club and the carrier/broadcaster, as well as the viewer who will benefit from these additional services,” he added.
Remarking on the crown prince’s involvement in the order, Al-Asheikh said: “Such a decision wouldn’t have been taken without his support.”
The decision came after several media outlets reported that the channels owning the league’s rights had decided to encrypt the league from the beginning of the next sports season.

The Saudi professional league had officially requested FIFA encode the league matches from August 2018 when the season starts.
The league made a joint request at its meeting requesting that the encryption of league matches was accelerated to help save clubs financially.
Meanwhile sport fans have inevitably reacted positively to the ruling, praising the Crown Prince.


Saudi Arabia gears up for live music festival during E-Prix race

Updated 21 November 2018
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Saudi Arabia gears up for live music festival during E-Prix race

  • International and Arab musicians are set to perform
  • The event will be held at the UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will be hosting a three-day music festival during the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in December.

International and Arab musicians are set to perform for fans to celebrate the first staging of the Formula E race.

The event will be held at the UNESCO heritage site of Ad Diriyah where six major artists will be performing each night from December 13, 14 and after the race itself on December 15.

“The ‘Saudia’ Ad Diriyah E-Prix is set to be the hottest ticket in town for so many reasons, from breath-taking electric racing, to entertainment, to culture. Soon everyone will find out who is coming, and we can promise a festival of music that offers fans, friends and families an unmissable experience,” Vice-Chair of the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority, Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki Al-Faisal, said.

“We suggest fans avoid the rush by getting your ticket now to avoid disappointment after the names are released,” he added.