TFF calls off original Süper Lig tender, calls for new bids

Interested parties now have until 1pm local time on Saturday to re-submit bids for domestic rights.

Euan Cunningham March 01 2024

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has scrapped its initial tender process for domestic media rights to the top-tier men’s Süper Lig and has asked for new bids from interested parties.

This means that pay-TV heavyweight BeIN Sports (the incumbent rights-holder) and agency Saran Media will need to submit fresh bids for domestic rights to the 2024-27 cycle, with the TFF having set a new deadline of Saturday (March 2) for this.

The Turkish body has said that bids will need to meet “the estimated price of the broadcast tender and other criteria determined in line with the broadcast tender commission’s recommendations” to be considered valid. This decision has been taken following a meeting between the TFF and the Turkish Clubs Association.

BeIN’s Turkish arm, Digiturk, currently holds both domestic and international broadcast rights to the Süper Lig, in deals that expire at the end of the ongoing 2023-24 season. This deal, however, was only reached after a tempestuous and lengthy tender process which almost led to a serious breakdown in relations between BeIN and the TFF.

There is also a deadline of 5pm local time today for questions from interested parties about the rights.

The TFF launched its original tender at the start of 2024, with a deadline for bids of February 14, covering domestic live rights to all league fixtures between 2024-25 and 2026-27, as well as international broadcast rights, and international betting data rights.

Turkish media has reported that Saran’s original bid for the next three seasons comes to just over $150 million annually for all games and that BeIN’s amounts to around $125 million per year.

The first deal between BeIN and the TFF came in 2016, and since then the two parties have not enjoyed the best of relationships. That original tie-up, running through 2021-22, had to be renegotiated after much acrimony, with BeIN’s fee eventually being lowered.

The deal for last season and this campaign, meanwhile, is worth TRY2.2 billion ($127 million), much lower than BeIN’s previous $500 million, five-year deal.

The tough negotiations around the last deal started when BeIN offered a lower fee for the rights due to its unhappiness with the level of digital piracy within Turkey, which it said it had been fighting itself.

The broadcaster was also subjected to an anti-BeIN campaign by Fenerbahce fans over claims it was manipulating VAR decisions and choosing camera angles of highlights that showed them in an unfavorable light. As a result, the team doctored BeIN’s logo to read ‘beFAIR’ on their pitchside advertising boards and team apparel.

The broadcaster, as a consequence, took an emergency injunction against the club’s actions due to a breach of intellectual property and asked for a rebate on its rights deal with the TFF.

At one point, Saran even publicly announced that it had signed deals with the TFF to replace BeIN - before the governing body had to return to the Qatari broadcaster.

In late January, Turkish public-service broadcaster TRT snapped up free-to-air rights for the various UEFA pan-European soccer competitions.

TRT struck an exclusive deal covering the top-tier UEFA Champions League (UCL), second-tier Europa League, and third-tier Europa Conference League (to be renamed the Conference League from 2024-25) for the 2024-27 cycle.

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