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Turkish Football Federation call for new bids on Süper Lig media rights

Previous called bids were declared null and void for undisclosed reasons

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has cancelled its initial tender process for domestic media rights to the top-tier men’s Süper Lig, calling for new bids from interested parties. The decision comes after a meeting between the TFF and the Süper Lig Clubs Association.

Interested parties now have until 1 pm local time on Saturday to re-submit their bids. This means that pay-TV heavyweight BeIN Sports, the current rights-holder, and agency Saran Media will need to submit fresh bids for domestic rights to the 2024-27 cycle.

The TFF has stated that all bids must meet "the estimated price of the broadcast tender and other criteria determined in line with the broadcast tender commission’s recommendations" in order to be considered valid.

Relationship between BeIN and TFF rumoured to be behind retender

BeIN's Turkish arm, Digiturk, currently holds both domestic and international broadcast rights to Süper Lig. These deals are set to expire at the end of this ongoing 2023-24 season. However, these agreements were only reached after a tumultuous negotiation process which almost led to a serious breakdown in relations between BeIN and TFF.

The original tender was launched by TFF at the start of 2024 with a deadline set for February 14th. It covered domestic live rights to all league fixtures from 2024-25 through 2026-27 as well as international broadcast rights and international betting data rights.

Turkish media reported that Saran's original bid amounted just over $150 million annually while BeIN's bid was around $125 million per year.

Since their first deal in 2016, relations between BeIN Sports and TFF have been strained due largely due disagreements over fees and accusations of digital piracy. BeIN's fee was eventually lowered after much acrimony.

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

BeIN has been at centre of many controversies with the Turkish League

BeIN has faced challenges in Turkey due to its unhappiness with the level of digital piracy within the country, which it claimed to be fighting alone. The broadcaster was also subjected to an anti-BeIN campaign by Fenerbahce fans over claims it manipulated VAR decisions and chose camera angles that showed them in an unfavorable light.

In response, BeIN took an emergency injunction against Fenerbahce's actions due to a breach of intellectual property and asked for a rebate on its rights deal with TFF.

In late January, Turkish public-service broadcaster TRT secured free-to-air rights for various UEFA pan-European soccer competitions including top-tier UEFA Champions League (UCL), second-tier Europa League, and third-tier Europa Conference League matches (to be renamed the Conference League from 2024-25) for the 2024-27 cycle.

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