Qatar’s BeIN Sports loses F1 regional broadcast rights to MBC Group

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MBC will air the FIA Formula One World Championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023. (File/AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2019
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Qatar’s BeIN Sports loses F1 regional broadcast rights to MBC Group

  • The region’s largest media company will air the championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023
  • The deal will see the return of the world’s biggest motorsport event to a free-to-air network in the region, following years of being available on subscription-only networks

LONDON: The Middle East media group MBC has won the regional broadcast rights for the FIA Formula One World Championship, it was announced on Friday. 

The region’s largest media company will air the championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023. 

The deal will see the return of the world’s biggest motorsport event to a free-to-air network in the region, following years of being available on subscription-only networks. 

The rights were previously held by the Qatar-owned beIN Sports, which charges its subscribers. This is the second to the Doha based broadcaster only a few days after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ended the Qatari broadcaster’s monopoly of broadcasting competition matches in Saudi Arabia.  The decision, which ended BeIN’s sole control of AFC’s Champions League matches in Saudi Arabia, was hinged on communications and legal grounds, including the Qatari company’s “systemic violations it committed against the Kingdom’s regulations.”

The F1 championship will now be free to watch on MBC Action, with the channel covering all stages of each event, including training sessions, qualifiers, and Grand Prix day. 

“The FIA Formula One World Championship is the most prestigious and popular year-long motor- sport event par excellence” said Mazen Hayek, MBC’s spokesman. 

“MBC Action is thrilled to broad- cast it free-to-air to millions of fans in Saudi Arabia and across MENA, after having been encrypted and subscription-based, for years. 

“This falls in line with MBC Group’s long-established commitment to offer the best premium content of all genres, free-to-air, to audiences across MENA, with the region’s vibrant youth mind.” 

The deal is through an agreement between MBC Group and the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile). 

The 2019 season commenced on Friday, with the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 in Melbourne.


Qatari media incites boycott of Bahrain’s Palestinian workshop, but ignores leaks about own regime attendance

Updated 26 May 2019
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Qatari media incites boycott of Bahrain’s Palestinian workshop, but ignores leaks about own regime attendance

  • Experts predict that comments come as a result of Iranian and Qatari media propagating a negative view of the workshop, which is being falsely portrayed as an effort to force Palestinians to sell-away their right to a state
  • Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector

DUBAI: Qatari media has been upping the ante with articles and opinion pieces shedding negative light on the US-lead “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain, which led to Palestinian officials to have a negative view of the summit and urge other Arab states of boycotting it.

“We call on the countries that have agreed to attend the Bahrain workshop to reevaluate their decision,” the secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, told Arab News in an interview yesterday. 

Experts predict that comments come as a result of Iranian and Qatari media propagating a negative view of the workshop, which is being falsely portrayed as an effort to force Palestinians to sell-away their right to a state. 

“‘A two-day international Peace to Prosperity economic workshop in Bahrain undermines #Palestinians and their calls for sovereignty’” read a tweet from Qatar-owned English version of The New Arab, a newspaper based in London. 

Another tweet by the same news website read: “In-depth: ‘Palestinian political and religious leaders have slammed Jared Kushner’s so-called Deal of the Century Israel-Palestine peace plan, due to be revealed in part in a controversial Bahrain summit‘”

While a Twitter poll from senior Al Jazeera New channel anchor Jamal Rayyan asked “Do you support Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel’s organization of an economic conference in Bahrain to finance the deal of the century and the liquidation of the Palestinian cause?”

The results showed 71 percent against while 29 percent for.

Also, articles from Middle East Eye and Middle East Monitor – both Qatari-backed and pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood – have exaggerated the ‘failings’ of the workshop in Manama.

But while Qatari media has aggressively pushed against the Bahain summit, Israel-based Haaretz has published an article claiming that Qatar plans to attend and participate in the conference, which takes place on June 25 and 26.

No reports of Qatar confirming or denying the Haaretz article were found by Arab News.

Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.

Trump’s office said the conference was a “pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”

The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.

“Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” Erekat said.

(With AFP)