I feel like I need to start this with a disclaimer. I am not ‘In The Know’, and have no ties to any party involved in the Newcastle Takeover. All the items I will discuss are things that have cropped up on twitter and the news, this is just a case of me using this information to put 2+2 together and hopefully get 4.
That being said, I’m sure someone else trying to guess when the Takeover could go through won’t be welcome news for some. This is just a thought I had, something I have suggested to some, and have gained positive feedback on, and felt I’d put my theory out to the wider audience. This is all it is, is a theory, and is no definitive date for a takeover announcement, I could be wrong, I could be right, but it is an idea I wanted to share.
This past week as we are all aware, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took the steps to ban beIN sports from the country, in what was a response to a case dating back FOUR years. This obviously puts a huge question mark over the takeover by PIF, PCP and the Reuben Brothers. After the country has done so much in the past few weeks to cut down on piracy, an issue that seemed to be central to the Takeover. It now seems that the Saudi’s could complete a takeover of a Premier league club, but with no LEGAL way to watch it….or have they?
During this takeover saga, PIF have still been doing business, and have invested in some major companies worldwide. Some investment will be in an aim to move the country forward as it builds towards its Vision 2030 model, the likes of Starbucks, Boeing and LiveNation to name a few. However there have been investments that may have another purpose. PIF have also bought minimal shares in various companies, for a considerable amount of money, that all have something in common. Investments in the BT Group, Facebook, Disney and Asian company Jio have all come since the takeover entered the Owners and Directors Test stage. All of these companies have platforms that could stream live content, or have streaming services attached to them. BT obviously have BT Sports, Facebook have Facebook Live, Disney have Disney+ and Jio have JioTV.
Now here comes the first instance where I could be reading too much into it. However it is my belief, these investments are not by accident. The shares in each company are minimal, but give PIF access to resources and ideas from each.
Tie this into an incident with the Asian Champions League, and the dots seem to start to be connected. The issue that surrounded KSA’s banning of beIN, is not a new thing. A similar occurrence happened with coverage of the Asian Champions League. This led to a separate PAID streaming service solely for the ACL, where residents from different countries could pay to watch specifically the ACL without a beIN subscription. With the infrastructure in place from some of PIF’s companies, could something similar be worked out with the Premier League and Saudi, to allow its residents to watch a team that will have Saudi investment.
Obviously something in terms of compensation will have to be worked out with beIN sports. For the simple reason they would have bid a certain amount to cover the entire MENA region, with some of that income now taken away. But something like this is possible to be put in place until bidding rights are put in place for coverage for the Premier League throughout the entire MENA region.
Saudi Telecom is something that personally I didn’t think would effect the takeover. As most will already know Saudi Telecom are a sponsorship partner with Manchester United. On the face of it, this shouldn’t matter too much, but being mostly owned by PIF, it is possible that the Premier league would not be happy with a Premier League club owner having a part sponsorship deal with another club, essentially investing in two Premier League clubs at the same time, which would be a easy problem to sort, and too me seemed a non-issue.
This issue was first brought forward by a random twitter user at the beginning of the week, with tweets to suggest the issue was sorted, and Saudi Telecom would end their partnership with the Manchester club on July 31st.
Now like a say, this by itself seems like an easily rectified, and a minor issue. But if you add it too Liam Kennedy’s article for the Shields Gazette (Read Here) soon after, makes this take on a whole different angle.
In it, it is suggested that Saudi Telecom will be the force behind any bid for TV rights, or the supplier for streaming if that is an option. This would suggest why the deal with Manchester United had to end, in that a Premier League rights owner could not be a sponsorship partner for a member club, it would be akin to Sky Sports, BT Sports or even beIN being an official parter with a Premier League club.
This is where I have been connecting the dots, and in all honesty I could have missed a few.
But lets look at it this way with a possible run off announcements.
The season as it is finishes next weekend, with the transfer window opening on the Monday after. That could be an opportunity for Saudi Telecom or Manchester United to announce the end to their partnership with the season finished. It could also well be the week that an announcement is made around the ability for residents within Saudi to watch Premier League football, with Saudi Telecom offering the service, with help from some of the companies PIF have invested in.
In the past few weeks there have been rumours of the Premier league trying to organise a TV deal with Saudi before agreeing to the Takeover. This could be that rumour.
Which brings us to an official announcement of the Newcastle Takeover and an end to Mike Ashley. That would have to come once Saudi Telecom have officially ended their partnership with Manchester United in my mind. With it suggested that partnership ends on July 31st, it would make the first possible date for an announcement August 1st, or a date around then.
Waiting till this date could keep all parties happy, mostly the Premier League. There is no doubt the Premier League, although taking their time, seem to be working on ways to make sure the deal goes through. As the investment from Saudi would increase the coffers within domestic football, and another team pushing for Europe year after year, makes the league more enticing to rights holders and players, cementing the Premier League as one of the best if not the best league in the world.
If some sort of Saudi only streaming service, similar to the ACL, could be worked out, no doubt that is a service Saudi will have to pay for, which will bring more money to each member club. It could also be a way for beIN to be paid compensation for monies lost over the past few years. Moving this money via the Premier League, allows beIN to get their money owed, but also allows Saudi to save face and not have to pay Qatar directly!
Like I say, this could be me connecting some dots but not all. To me there is a aspect of sense to this, and has been suggested to me as such. There is nothing to say the owners in waiting will not be already in the club before an official announcement, meaning we are not left behind in the transfer window. But waiting to make an official announcement could keep all parties happy.