Saudi Arabia could target Premier League broadcast rights in the Middle East if its proposed UK£300 million (US$367 million) takeover of Newcastle United is successful, according to the Daily Mail, reports, www.sportspromedia.com/.
The club's owner Mike Ashley is close to selling an 80 per cent stake to a consortium backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), though the deal has come under scrutiny due to the kingdom's human rights record and involvement in broadcast piracy. So far, the Premier League is yet to contact anyone involved in the takeover regarding those concerns.
According to the Daily Mail report, Saudi Arabia's interest in Premier League TV rights would serve as the latest staging post in its proxy war with Qatar, where the league's incumbent broadcast partner in the MENA region, BeIN Sports, is based. The contract tender is due to hit the market in 2021, with BeIN currently paying UK£500 million (US$611 million) for its three-year deal which expires in 2022.