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Serie A launches country-by-country MENA broadcast rights tender

Italy’s Serie A has launched a 24-country broadcast rights tender in the MENA region.

The news comes several months after the league launched its initial broadcast rights tender for the 2021/22-23/24 seasons, with that initial announcement not including the MENA region.

The MENA tender will take a turn from the usual state of affairs in the region, with networks now allowed to bid on rights in individual countries. Major rights holders have typically offered their MENA broadcast rights in a bloc or as part of a global contract, due to the fact that there are typically fewer competitive players in the region.

Serie A however has been burned by its previous deal with beIN Media, which staged a broadcast blackout of the league following its resumption earlier this year with the demand of a steep discount on its US$500 million deal. It accused the league of not doing enough to combat piracy.

Tensions between the broadcaster and the league were already high, with Serie A announcing a deal in 2018 to host three out of the next five Supercoppas in Saudi Arabia.

The recent lifting of the trade blockade between Qatar and four other Arab states may go to reduce some of the piracy from state-sponsored outfit beoutQ, but BeIN is still thought to believe content theft to be an issue.

The Qatari broadcaster is said to have no interest in bidding country-by-country, and would submit a bid for the entire region should it re-stake its claim on the league’s rights.

Elsewhere, Serie A is set to enter into individual negotiations with 49 interested parties on its global rights, with no bids meeting the minimums requested in the original tender. The league is holding out for between €380-500 million for its global rights sales.