Viewers of the World Cup in Saudi Arabia say the government has blocked a Qatari-owned streaming service that was supposed to broadcast matches in the kingdom.
The comment stunned and angered customers of TOD TV, which owns the rights to the show Globalism cup in Saudi Arabia. TOD TV is owned by the Qatari company, be IN sports Media group. Saudi-based subscribers who were unable to watch the World Cup matches flooded TOD TV’s Twitter account this week with refund requests and screenshots from the service’s website saying, “Sorry, the page requested violates Ministry of Information regulations.” In a message shared by subscribers, TOD TV apologized to viewers “for Temporary loss of service.
She said that this was due to reasons beyond our control. “We value our viewers’ excellent user experience and are working to resume normal services as soon as possible.” TODTV, the Saudi Ministry of Information and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The Qatari beIN group has been caught up in a bitter political dispute between Riyadh and Doha in recent years. Saudi Arabia in 2017 led a group of four Arab states to impose a boycott on Qatar over its support for political Islamists, its ties to Iran and its funding of Al Jazeera, a satellite news channel that has at times been highly critical of the governments of other Gulf Arab states.
During the boycott, beIN Sports lost its broadcast license in Saudi Arabia, and Saudi viewers lost their only way to watch football from Europe’s biggest leagues and major competitions in Asia outside of pirated services. But last year, after Saudi Arabia mended ties with Qatar, beIN resumed service in the key Saudi market.
TOD TV broadcasts some matches for free, including those from Saudi Arabia, but 42 matches were only available on the streaming service, which was apparently banned before the tournament began on November 20. He has not been able to make it to the service since the opening ceremony, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sat just a few seats ahead of Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.
Competition for revenue and millions of subscribers in the Middle East is intensifying among regional streaming services, including Shahid, which is run by Saudi-owned MBC Group. The Saudi government is believed to own a controlling stake in MBC Group after a series of arrests in 2017 ordered by Prince Mohammed over corruption allegations helped him centralize power in the kingdom.
Read all files The latest sports news over here