BeIn Sports launches $1 billion suit against Saudi Arabia

BeIn has launched an international investment arbitration against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for damages totalling more than $1 billion, having been unlawfully driven out of the Saudi market and subjected to widespread piracy of sports broadcasting.

“Saudi-based pirate TV channel beoutQ with Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat have orchestrated a plague of piracy on world sports and entertainment over the past year”

Following the suspension of diplomatic relations with Qatar in June 2017, Saudi Arabia initiated a series of measures specifically including revoking beIN’s legal right to operate in the jurisdiction; prohibiting the broadcast of beIN channels; banning the importation and distribution of beIN set-top boxes; suspending all monetary transactions with beIN; and blocking access to beIN’s websites and call centre. In addition to these measures, Saudi Arabia has been actively supporting the broadcast TV pirate channel named beoutQ.

Commenting on the launch of the investment arbitration against Saudi Arabia, Sophie Jordan, Executive Director of Legal Affairs – General Counsel of beIN Media Group, said:

“After failed attempts to resolve this dispute through dialogue, we have now been forced to issue a Notice of Arbitration due to Saudi Arabia’s concerted campaign to prevent beIN from operating in the country, despite beIN having the legal and commercial right to do so. We are a well-respected global broadcaster, providing millions of customers around the world with top quality programming. Quite clearly, we are being unfairly used as a political football in a wider regional dispute. But this case has implications far beyond beIN – in beoutQ, Saudi Arabia has created a plague of piracy and unless the whole sports, entertainment and broadcast industry takes a stand, its impact will be devastating and irreversible.”