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Lebanon seeks deal to broadcast World Cup games free of charge

BEIRUT: The Lebanese government is seeking to acquire the broadcast rights of the FIFA World Cup 2018 to show the games free of charge to football fans across Lebanon, Information Minister Melhem Riachy said Wednesday.

Riachy said he will be meeting with representatives of beIN Media in Lebanon to secure broadcast rights for Lebanon’s state-run TV station, Tele Liban. beIN SPORTS, a global network of sports channels owned and operated by beIN Media Group, a spinoff of Qatar’s Al Jazeera Media Network, is the exclusive licensed provider of World Cup games in the MENA region. SAMA group is beIN Media’s exclusive distributor in Lebanon.

If the deal with SAMA goes through, Tele Liban will screen the World Cup games free of charge through its local broadcast network, which the state-run company did during the previous edition of the World Cup.

If the deal fails, each household in Lebanon is likely to incur a charge of around $100 to secure access to beIN SPORTS channels, a sports industry source told Annahar.

This cost is passed to households from local cable providers who will be charged between 10,000 to 12,000$ in order to provide consumers access to beIN SPORTS channels, the source added.

Meanwhile, news website Verdict, said “Israel will give soccer fans from Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinian West Bank territories, a free-pass to watch the FIFA World Cup tournament on Israeli Arabic channel Makan.”

“By doing so, Qatar’s subscription broadcast monopoly is likely to suffer,” Verdict reported, quoting “Israel speaks Arabic” Facebook page, which announced on Sunday that “the Israeli TV station Makan will broadcast the World Cup for free, in a historic step that shows Israel’s respect for Arabic language.”

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