Sportcal Media’s Landscape series provides the industry with regular territory or regional insight and statistics on the sports rights market layered into detailed analysis of key sectors of the media.
With multi-billion-dollar broadcast rights deals common place around the world in 2018 it is crucial to stay up to date with the media landscape in key territories.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the first pan-regional analysis in our series of Landscape reports taking an in–depth look at the sports broadcast rights market and its health and influence across key sectors of the media; specifically, free-to-air TV, pay-TV and the telecoms sector.
Geopolitical unrest in the region and declining oil prices negatively impacted the MENA economy in 2017, with growth shrinking by 2 per cent.
Dominant pan-regional pay-TV sports broadcaster BeIN Sports, based in Doha, is facing challenging conditions as a result, though the BeIN Media Group still has more than 50 per cent of all pay-TV subscribers.
The political unrest in MENA has directly impacted the Pay-TV market, causing subscriber numbers to decrease by 21 per cent in 2017. However, OTT subscriptions are on the rise, with 1.38 million subscriptions to online video services in 2017.
BeIN Sports, the Qatari-owned international sports broadcaster, dominates the sports rights landscape in MENA and holds a vast number of premium rights including the Premier League, Fifa World Cup and Olympics. In addition to its pay-TV offering, it operates two free-to-air channels.
BeIN’s wide-ranging portfolio includes many of the highest-profile sports events. Its European soccer coverage is strengthened by deals with the Uefa Champions League and Europa League, and Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. Basketball and motor sports content are also particularly prevalent on BeIN’s 17 sports channels, while tennis also features prominently.
BeIN has also made a move into cricket after securing agreements to both Australian and English cricket, and an accord for the Indian Premier League.
The sports rights landscape in the Middle East and North Africa continues to be dominated by BeIN Sports although recent geopolitical turbulence has created challenging conditions for the international pay-TV broadcaster in its ‘home’ region. Having amassed a vast portfolio of premium rights properties, headlined by the Premier League, Fifa World Cup and Olympics, BeIN accounts for over 50 per cent of pay-TV subscribers in the region. The Doha-based broadcaster’s footprint was strengthened in 2009 with its purchase of the sports channels of ART, its erstwhile rival, and it has the bulk of top-tier rights tied down for years to come. It also operates two free-to-air channels which offer localised content.
Mobile phone subscribers in the region topped 465 million in 2016, and penetration still sat high at 105 per cent, despite a year-on-year decrease. The number of subscribers has more than doubled in a decade and many of the territories boast a penetration rate above 100 per cent, with major operators like Etisalat (162 million subscribers) and Zain (47 million) running networks in multiple countries within the region. The GSM Association (GSMA), the global mobile industry body, noted that mobile broadband is expanding and connections to 3G superseded that of 2G in 2017 to become the dominant mobile technology, with mobile broadband predicted to make up around 70 per cent of total connections by 2020.
1. Executive Summary
- Key Sports Rights 2018
- National statistics
- Market statistics
- Charts & analysis
- Comprehensive sports rights tables
- Free-to-air & pay-TV
- Broadcaster overviews
- Analysis, key rights & contact info
- Sports rights
- Pay-TV and streaming