BeIN-owned Digiturk throws weight behind Turkey's Euro 2024 bid
Digiturk, Turkey’s largest pay-TV network which was acquired by BeIN Media Group, the Qatar-based international pay-TV broadcaster in 2015, has thrown its weight behind Turkey’s bid to host Uefa Euro 2024, soccer’s European Championships.
Turkey is vying with Germany to stage the championships, with Uefa, soccer’s European governing body, due to announce the host country on 27 September.
In a statement, BeIN/Digiturk said that Yousef Al-Obaidly, Digiturk’s chief executive has joined Mehmet Kasapoğlu, Turkey’s minister of youth and sport, in declaring their support for the bid.
The statement said: “BeIN/Digiturk hold the rights to the Turkish Super Lig within Turkey, and has invested more than 20 billion lira [$] into the development of grassroots football facilities, helping Turkey – with its ultra-modern stadia, advanced infrastructure and passionate fan base – be ready to host the tournament today.
“Similarly, Minister Kasapoğlu previously served as the head of state-owned sports betting company Spor Toto – the title sponsor of the Turkish Super Lig - and, in the last year, he has collaborated extensively with local administrations and a range of NGOs to invest in youth education and sport across the country and will bring this development expertise to the Turkey 2024 project.”
Al-Obaidly added: “We believe in Turkey’s strong foundation and high potential. As BeIN Media Group, we are supporting Turkish football both domestically and internationally, and we support Turkey’s bid for Uefa Euro 2024.”
This is Turkey’s fourth attempt at hosting Uefa’s showpiece national teams tournament. It bid unsuccessfully for Euro 2012, which was ultimately awarded to Poland and Ukraine, and then lost out by a single vote to France for the hosting rights to Euro 2016, the first to feature 24 nations.
Four years ago, the TFF surprisingly pulled out of the race to host the final matches at Euro 2020, saying that it wanted to focus instead on a campaign for the country to win the right to stage the whole of the 2024 tournament.
The Turkish bid involves 10 stadia across nine cities: the home of Istanbul-based giants Galatasaray and the city's Ataturk Olympic Stadium; as well as venues in Konya, Bursa, Trabzon, Gaziantep, Eskişehir, Kocaeli, Ankara and Antalya.
It is envisioned that the Olympic Stadium would host the opening game and final of Euro 2024. The venue is set to undergo a major reconstruction, which will cost around €250 million ($300 million).
This compares with Germany’s bid, which has proposed 10 host cities - Berlin, Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Cologne, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart - ensuring that “not fewer than 2.8 million spectators will be able to watch games live from their stadium seats.”