(Bloomberg) -- Qatar’s beIN Media Group, which holds exclusive rights in parts of the Middle East to stream some of the world’s biggest sporting events, will no longer be broadcast on the United Arab Emirates’s top network.
Etisalat by e& discontinued beIN supplied channels — including those that show English Premier League football matches and Grand Slam tennis tournaments — on Thursday. It cited commercial reasons, without providing more details.
Talks to extend the contract ended after the two sides failed to agree on a price, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the discussions were private.
A representative for Etisalat didn’t respond to requests for comment. A BeIN spokesperson said the firm is disappointed at being unable to extend the decade-long partnership despite “lengthy discussions,” and added that its content will be available in the UAE through the beIN Satellite Network.
Abu Dhabi-based Etisalat said affected customers will be offered refunds of 184 dirhams ($50.10) a month. The channels will continue airing on another UAE network, Dubai-based Du, until the end of the month, according to Khaleej Times, but it wasn’t clear if they’d be available after that.
Both Etisalat and Du count Emirates Investment Authority, the UAE’s wealth fund, as their top shareholder.
State-owned beIN operates across five continents. It was the main Middle Eastern broadcaster of last year’s football World Cup, which Qatar hosted.
The broadcaster was banned in the UAE at the start of the Qatar embargo in 2017, but was back on the air within a month. Saudi Arabia, which joined the UAE in cutting ties with Qatar, only lifted its ban on beIN in 2021, after reconciling with its Gulf neighbor.
The kingdom’s Public Investment Fund has informally signaled interest in partnering with Doha-based beIN, people familiar with matter told Bloomberg in October.
(Updates with reason in 3rd paragraph)
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