Saudi Arabia is expected to battle for Premier League TV rights if their £300 million Newcastle takeover goes through. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, controlled by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is in talks with Mike Ashley and is exploring a Newcastle takeover. The consortium, however, has come under intense scrutiny, led by beIN Sports, who hold the Premier League TV rights for the Middle East and North Africa.
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund-led Newcastle takeover has been opposed, namely by human rights group Amnesty International, but is still presumed to go through. BeIN Sports have urged Premier League chief executive Richard Masters to block the £300m Newcastle Saudi deal accusing the Gulf country of piracy. Former Sky Sports presenter and beIN host Richard Keys has been vociferous in his push against the takeover and has mentioned Saudi-owned pirate operator beoutQ stealing intellectual broadcasting rights of beIN Sports in MENA (the Middle East North Africa) as one of the reasons why the deal shouldn't go through. Saudi Arabia has hit back at the criticism, suggesting beIN Sports are motivated by the fear that they will lose their Premier League TV rights contract in 2022.
The Times report that BeIN Sports, who are headed up in part by PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi & who own considerable Premier League rights, have formally requested that the Saudi purchase of Newcastle United be blocked on the grounds that the country engages in TV piracy.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) April 21, 2020
Speaking to Daily Mail, a source said that the Saudi Arabia-Qatar issue is a political one and is motivated by money and status. He added that beIN would be worried about Saudi Arabia's arrival with their protracted Newcastle takeover which will in turn help tap the market in Saudi Arabia, which is huge for the Premier League and the Champions League. The source further said that Saudi Arabia is likely to bid for Premier League TV rights, with the open tender process due to start next year and the country has the financial strength to outbid Qatar. The Premier League TV rights for MENA is currently in possession of beIN Sports, who acquired it for a reported £500 million for three years, the last of which is 2022.