Turks extend TV bid deadline for SuperLig as buyer backlash keeps fees low

By Paul Nicholson

February 22 – The Turkish Football Federation is moving deep into added time with the award of the rights for its new domestic TV deal for the SuperLig.

Following a meeting at the weekend the TFF is going back to broadcast bidders for a second time asking them to revise their bids with a decision on the award of the broadcast rights now postponed until the end of the month.

The TFF, via a tender process being managed by IMG, had initially asked bidders to send in revised bids for last Friday February 19. The revised bids still fell short of TFF’s expectations for the rights and it has now moved the deadline for bids back to this Friday (February 24th) with a meeting set for Monday Feb 28 for a final decision on who to award the rights to.

There are 12 companies still in the bidding with Saran Group and incumbent beIN Sport/Digiturk understood to be leading the bid.

Saran has reportedly proposed a $100 million rights fee plus a further share in subscription revenues and from sales to other platforms. beIN/Digiturk has offered $146 million a year as a rights fee for each of the five years of the term being tendered.

The TFF had been hoping to reach $250 million annually for the new term. But even that is a huge reduction of about $250 million on the deal agreed in 2015.

The current broadcast cycle for the Turkish SuperLig ends with the 2021-22 season with beIN/Digiturk having paid about $500 million per season, though in its final season the TFF is only receiving about $200 million following an agreed rebate after series of disputes with the broadcaster over the rampant piracy of the broadcast signal.

While the SuperLig and the TFF has failed to protect its broadcast signal from piracy, beIN/Digiturk has also faced a bitter campaign against it led by Fenerbahce and its fans who accuse beIN of influencing match officials’ decisions against the club through its broadcasts, including the award of penalties and the influencing of VAR.

Fenerbahce even ran their own beFAIR campaign with stadium banners and getting new signing Mesut Ozil to wear a t-shirt with that logo on it for a media presentation.

beIN had warned that there would be a backlash and the TFF is now feeling it, with broadcasters reluctant to stump up big money for exclusive live rights feeds that have no protection from pirates. Add in an environment where some clubs are happy to take the money but still end up biting the hand that feeds them, and rights fees were only ever going to drop.

That they would drop from $500 million a year to the current highest offer of $148 million a year will be frightening for SuperLig clubs who have a combined debt of more than $750 million.

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