BeIN and TFF agree revised terms for Süper Lig rights contract
By Jonathan Rest
The Turkish Football Federation and BeIN Sports, the international pay-television broadcaster, today signed off on new terms for the remaining two seasons of their global media rights contract, following months of tense negotiations.
BeIN is in the penultimate season of a five-year deal with the TFF, which designates Digiturk, its pay-TV operator in the country, as the domestic rights holder of the top-tier Süper Lig, with BeIN distributing the rights in countries worldwide where it does not operate.
That agreement was originally worth $2.5 billion, or $500 million per season, but Sportcal has learned the new agreement is worth TL2.65 billion for the 2020-21 season, which at present equates to $340 million per annum, while also establishing a precedent for the calculation of the fee for the final 2021-22 season that will be determined once the coronavirus pandemic has passed.
Some Turkish clubs had expressed fears that the sum could drop to as little as $250 million per season
BeIN paid around $410 million for the 2019-20 season, with those terms having been tweaked ahead of that campaign due to a significant slide in the value of the Turkish lira.
The further reduction is understood to be related to both the value of the lira and the impact of Covid-19, albeit it still represents a strong source of revenue for Süper Lig clubs.
Structured payments for the 2020-21 season will now commence, although BeIN has already made a special payment of TL500 million to the TFF in order for cash to flow through to the 21 top-flight clubs while contract negotiations took place.
The contract was signed following a meeting of TFF president Nihat Özdemir (pictured right), BeIN and Digiturk chief executive Yousef Al-Obaidly (left) and Mehmet Muharrem Kasapoğlu, Turkey's youth and sports minister, in Ankara today.
In a statement to Sportcal, Al-Obaidly said: “This agreement shows that we will continue to do what is necessary to support Turkish football and the TFF, despite the enormously challenging economic conditions that we face. At a time when broadcast revenue fees are critical to the survival of the league and the clubs, we will stand by them financially during these unprecedented times.”
Kasapoğlu praised BeIN's support for Turkish soccer and the country's economy, and said the deal was beneficial for all parties.Sportcal understands BeIN will now make all payments in Turkish lira, rather than a combination of lira and US dollars, to avoid fluctuating prices.
While BeIN and Digiturk paid the $1 billion for the first two seasons of the contract in full, the first instalment of 25 per cent for the 2019-20 season was withheld, with the broadcasters demanding that the terms of the agreement be radically adjusted because of issues related to Turkey's economy.
The original contract stipulated that Digiturk paid the $500 million annual rights fee equally in US dollars and Turkish lira, but the lira's demise meant the broadcaster was facing shelling out considerably more for the rights than anticipated when that deal was signed in November 2016.
It was agreed that the US part of the contract would be paid at the spot exchange rate, which was 3.26 lira: $1 in November 2016, but reached a high of 7.4 lira: $1 before it was renegotiated.
In addition, the Turkish lira part of the deal was linked to the consumer price index and producer price index. While this was 2.26 at the time of the deal, it subsequently jumped to the 25 per cent mark before renegotiation.
The TFF, BeIN and Digiturk eventually came to an agreement ahead of the 2019-20 season on a reduced annual dollar figure, with all payments subject to a new fixed exchange rate, albeit the new rate was never publicly revealed.