OSN to close last sports channels in July due to piracy

Pay-television operator OSN has blamed piracy in the Middle East and North Africa for its decision to close its cricket channel next month, the last of its dedicated sports channels.

It will shut down the OSN Cricket channel on July 15, the day after the final of the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

OSN had already shut down five of its six own-brand sports channels and removed the WWE Network at the end of March.

The broadcaster will also close its Pehla entertainment channel, which also offers some sports programming and has been showing coverage of the ongoing Cricket World Cup.

“Illegal streaming sites, pirate IPTV decoders within OSN’s licensed territories, has made it difficult for OSN to continue offering Pehla,” it said.

The broadcaster has rights to India and New Zealand home Test, one-day international and Twenty20 cricket matches, as well as all International Cricket Council events until the end of 2023.

OSN Cricket has been offering coverage provided by pay-television broadcaster Ten Sports, owned by the Sony Pictures Network media group. OSN renewed its carriage deal with SPN in March last year.

A French court ruled last week that regional satellite provider Arabsat is a signal carrier for pirate broadcaster beoutQ, which operates extensively in Mena.