Saudi Arabia-based channel beoutQ accused of 'industrial-scale piracy' over tennis broadcasts

Saudi Arabia-based channel beoutQ accused of 'industrial-scale piracy' over tennis broadcasts
World tennis bodies have demanded the immediate closure of beoutQ, which has also been accused of illegally broadcasting World Cup matches.
2 min read
06 July, 2018
Wimbledon tennis championships began in the UK this week [Getty]
World tennis bodies have accused the Saudi Arabia-based TV channel beoutQ of illegally broadcasting tennis content across the Middle East.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF), Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), and other bodies said in a statement that such "industrial-scale illegal piracy" risked damaging the value of broadcasting rights which help fund the sport.

"The world's tennis governing bodies have joined forces to publicly condemn and call for the immediate closure of the illegal Saudi Arabian-based piracy operation, 'beoutQ'," the joint statement said.

The group added: "Over the past 12 months beoutQ has been brazenly stealing the broadcast feeds of international tennis tournaments and distributing them illegally on a satellite provider called Arabsat… The case of beoutQ is especially troubling due to the unparalleled sophistication and the extensive period of time over which the commercial-scale theft has been allowed to continue."

The allegations echo complaints last month from footballing bodies FIFA and UEFA who threatened to take action against beoutQ, which has broadcast every match of the World Cup so far despite not owning the rights to do so.

Formula 1 also made similar accusations.

The Middle East TV rights for major tennis tournaments, including Wimbledon which began in the UK on Monday, and the World Cup are held by BeIn Sports, a Qatari network. But an illegal stream is being simultaneously broadcast by a Riyadh-based channel calling itself BeoutQ

BeoutQ has been hijacking the BeIn satellite feed and blurring the Qatari network's logo - and allowing its own stream to be reproduced widely.

Saudi Arabia has denied that beoutQ is based in the kingdom, and told news agency Reuters that authorities are working to prevent beoutQ's activities there.

In May, the New York Times revealed the "brazen bootlegging" operation. It said beIN officials traced the beoutQ signal back to the Riyadh-based satellite provider Arabsat.

"Decoder boxes embossed with the beoutQ logo have for months been available across Saudi Arabia and are now for sale in other Arab-speaking countries. A one-year subscription costs $100," it reported.

In June last year, Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt launched a blockade against Qatar, cutting all diplomatic and trade ties with the tiny Gulf state after accusing it of supporting terrorism.

Qatar has strongly denied the allegations and has withstood economic sanctions more than 12 months on.