The Saudi Pro League (SPL) has secured key global broadcast rights deals for its upcoming 2023-24 season, with international streaming platform DAZN finalizing an agreement for the UK and national network Fox acquiring rights in the US.
The deals were negotiated by international sports marketing agency IMG, which sells global media rights on behalf of the SPL.
DAZN confirmed it will show games in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and Canada for two seasons.
As part of the deal, the OTT platform will stream three Saudi league matches per week.
It will also stream all the matches of Al-Nassr, the club that signed Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo last year and recently recruited Senegalese star Sadio Mane from Bayern Munich.
Shay Segev, DAZN Group chief executive, said: "The Saudi League is rapidly developing into an international phenomenon, attracting some incredible talent that will only improve an already strong and vibrant competition.
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"It's a great opportunity for DAZN to deliver greater and deserved prominence for the league, its clubs, and the Saudi game more generally, as well as adding even more quality content to our platform for our subscribers."
As part of the DAZN deal, the SPL will also be shown in Germany by Sportdigital Fussball, the subscription-based TV and internet platform, on a co-exclusive basis through its distribution partnership with the steaming service.
Meanwhile, Fox will provide English and Spanish language coverage on its main Fox Sports channel and Fox Deportes.
IMG is slated to provide broadcast feeds from its hub in London, UK, and will also have on-ground coverage.
The 2023-24 season begins tomorrow (August 11) with Al-Ahli facing Al-Hazm in the opening game.
In recent days, SPL rights have been acquired by pay-TV giant Canal Plus in France and Africa, SPOTV in Southeast Asia, and free-to-air commercial network La7 in Italy.
In Brazil, the league will be shown on the Canal Goat YouTube channel while coverage in the Middle East will be provided on MBC’s Shahid platform and the Saudi Sports Company’s channels.
It is understood IMG has secured deals with more than 25 broadcasters across over 130 territories.
The top clubs in the SPL have been very active in the transfer market after Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund acquired controlling stakes in the teams in an attempt to grow the national league.
The fund purchased a 75% stake in Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad, and Al-Ahli and each team has made high-profile transfers in recent weeks.
The league has attracted several international players including current Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kante, and Fabinho at Al-Ittihad, Marcelo Brozovic (Al-Nassr), Riyad Mahrez and Roberto Firmino (Al-Ahli), and Kalidou Koulibaly, Edouard Mendy, Ruben Neves, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Al-Hilal).
Elsewhere, Al-Ettifaq signed Jordan Henderson from Liverpool and landed Steven Gerrard as manager.
Image: Yasser Bakhsh/Getty Images