Qatari sports broadcaster beIN SPORTS has fired 300 employees at its Doha base, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The layoffs, which constitute about 18 percent of the company’s local workforce, reflect “difficult decisions to right-size our business,” a statement by beIN read.
The company claimed that the layoffs show the impact of piracy, pointing the finger at rival BeoutQ, which it accuses of pirating its content and streaming it online.
Illegal streaming of movies and sporting events has been common practice for decades, but few companies globally have made staff cuts because of it.
In addition to the layoffs, beIN has walked away from bids for sports broadcasting rights, including Formula 1 motor racing.
On Monday, a French court had ruled that pirated sports content belonging to beIN was accessible via a Saudi-based satellite operator, but said it had not found evidence of “clear and illegal disruption,” court documents seen by Reuters showed.
The layoffs come following the detention and questioning of Michel Platini, the former head of European football association UEFA over corruption and bribery in relation to the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar.