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NBCUniversal accuses BeoutQ of illegal streaming of FIFA World Cup in MENA

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MUMBAI: NBCUniversal, an American multi-national media conglomerate owned by Comcast, has accused a pirated streaming service called BeoutQ in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for illegally broadcasting the FIFA 2018 World Cup matches.

NBC's Telemundo unit, which holds the Spanish-language rights to the 2018 World Cup in the US, said that it is working closely with FIFA to protect its rights.

BeoutQ claims to be backed by Colombian, Cuban and Middle Eastern investors.  

“We take intellectual property infringement seriously,” NBC said, according to a statement in Rapid TV News. The company also added that it is working closely with FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, to protect its rights.”

Telemundo is not the first to complain. Qatari sports network beIN, a major rights holder in the Middle East and North Africa, has for months accused BeoutQ of copying its streams in Saudi Arabia.

The pirated channel has emerged as a result of the year-long poltical dispute in four countries - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and UAE.

As Egypt is playing in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, it has asked FIFA to allow them to broadcast games.

The World Cup is the most-watched sporting event in the world, and its rights, generally sold by region or by country, are among the most valuable in sports.

NBCUniversal has paid about $600 million for the American Spanish-language rights for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

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