Fenerbahce vs. beIN is Turkey’s high-stakes rivalry

Sarigul described the machinations in the Top Division as closer to WWE, the popular American wrestling franchise, where actions are frequently choreographed to elicit maximum reaction. “It’s entertainment,” Sarigul said. “You often go there for the drama and not for the football presented.”

“When something is wrong,” he added, “you blame them”. But no one knows who “them” are. “

For beIN, a network that has faced difficult situations in its other markets, the experience in Turkey has been baffling. He investigated how the anti-Fenerbache chants had been disseminated and concluded that human error was to blame.

In what appeared to be a conciliatory gesture towards Fenerbahce, he then fired the two staff members directly responsible. But both employees turned out to be Fenerbahce fans, prompting the club to revive their allegations of abuse.

As a result, beIN plans to move away from fighting and the league. The network, funded by the Qatari state, has always absorbed the losses of its good deals, but in recent years it has withdrawn from several of them and cut its staff amid a long-standing conflict. and expensive on hacking. He let deals with top leagues in Germany and Italy expire, and recently retired from one with Formula 1.

The Turkish dispute has taken its toll among beIN executives. Some non-Turkish staff of the network have been transferred out of the country, and at least one new one, Rashed al-Marri, has been brought in from Doha to take over operations in Turkey and in particular to manage relations with Fenerbahce. But nothing seems to lower the temperature.

At the end of February, the company went to court to prevent Fenerbahce from continuing a week-long campaign that had targeted the broadcaster in its stadium and on its social networks by using the colors of the beIN logo but replacing the words with the slogan “beFAIR “.

The result was that Turkish subscribers to beIN matches received an array of protest banners, secondary electronic billboards and even Fenerbahce players themselves covered in beFAIR branded slogans.

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