ABSTRACT

Similar trends are evident in the Arab world, although rather atypically they are being led by a state-owned Aljazeera Sport Network that now distributes a total of 12 subscription and four free-to-air channels. By June 2012, Aljazeera Sport will have two more subscription channels (under the name of BeIN Sport), broadcasting from France. Despite the radical expansion of sport content on off er in the digital era, this chapter questions whether the ongoing commercialization of sport broadcasting is a positive development, or, instead, has limited the viewing rights of sports fans and citizens in the Arab World who are now obliged to pay to watch their national soccer team compete in continental and international competitions. Such restrictions will continue, at least for the near future, as Aljazeera Sport has purchased the broadcasting rights for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region of the African Cup of Nations and the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) World Cup until 2022.