x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Al Jazeera wins Middle East TV rights to World Cups

Rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to the Middle East and North Africa have been secured by Qatar's Al Jazeera

World cup action: Qatar's Al Jazeera has won rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup in 2018 & 2022 to the Middle East and North Africa. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images
World cup action: Qatar's Al Jazeera has won rights to broadcast the FIFA World Cup in 2018 & 2022 to the Middle East and North Africa. Laurence Griffiths / Getty Images

Al Jazeera has acquired the rights to broadcast the 2018 and 2022 World Cups across the Middle East and North Africa region.

The Qatar-based broadcaster secured the rights to air the games via cable TV, satellite, terrestrial, mobile and broadband in 23 territories and countries, FIFA said in a statement issued today.

It is the first broadcast-rights deal to be struck by FIFA for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups since it announced that the two tournaments will be hosted in Russia and Qatar respectively.

The territories covered by this agreement include the UAE and other Gulf countries, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

FIFA did not disclose the sum paid for the broadcast rights.

The deal means that four consecutive World Cup tournaments, including the 2010 games, will be aired on Al Jazeera Sports channels.

Al Jazeera Sports in 2009 paid a reported US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) for the rights for the sports content broadcast by Arab Radio and Television, which included the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and the 2014 tournament, which is being played in Brazil.

However, the broadcaster came under fire last summer, when viewers across the Middle East and North Africa experienced interference while watching the broadcasts of several games. The disruption included pixellated images, blank screens and commentaries in the wrong language.

It was later alleged that "saboteurs" based in Jordan deliberately disrupted the broadcasts, in what Al Jazeera called an act of "space terrorism".

 

bflanagan@thenational.ae