Canal+ and beIN Sports partner to counter threat of US streaming giants in France

December 10 – With the threat of broadcast disruption from the broadcast streaming giants and sports ambitious social networks looming over the traditional broadcast industry, and pay tv networks in particular, a distribution deal between Canal+ Group and beIN Sports in France could indicate a trend towards a new pathway for established rights holders.

The united front being created for the French market comes in the form of an exclusive distribution and sublicensing deal between the broadcasters. The agreement would run for a renewable five-year period.

“Under the proposed agreement, CANAL+ would offer all beIN SPORTS premium sports channels and content within its CANAL+ offers, while also being the exclusive distributor of beIN SPORTS to third-party providers across all platforms in France starting 1st June 2020.  In addition, under the contemplated agreement, beIN SPORTS would also sublicense exclusively its 2020-2024 Ligue 1 football rights to CANAL+, allowing CANAL+’s subscribers to enjoy two games on each match day, including 28 of the 38 top Ligue 1 games of each season, starting from next season 2020/2021,” said a beIN Sport press release.

The deal would give the Canal+ the benefit, in particular, of beIN Sports’s premium live content to create a sports TV powerhouse, while beIN Sports would gain access to a significantly wider French distribution platform and Canal+’s marketing expertise.

Yousef Al-Obaidly, President of beIN SPORTS FRANCE and CEO of beIN MEDIA GROUP, said: “This deal would be extremely positive for beIN SPORTS and for sports fans in France. It secures our long-term business sustainability while giving beIN SPORTS much more scale and reach across the French market. I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved in France in such a short time since our launch in 2012. Effectively we’ve grown the business from a start-up to be one of the leading sports broadcasters in the country. And we have ambitious and long-term plans to grow the business even further in France, of which this partnership is an important first step.”

Both channels would retain their identities, brands and editorial autonomy, as well as working independently (and presumably competitively) in the sports rights acquisition market.

Maxime Saada, Chairman of the CANAL+ Group Executive Board, said: “Thanks to this deal, CANAL+ would continue to broadcast Ligue 1 beyond the current season with 28 of the top 38 games of each season exclusive until 2024. In addition, CANAL+ would strengthen its long-standing partnership with beIN SPORTS by becoming the channel’s exclusive distributor in France helping it to further extend its reach. beIN SPORTS has an amazing sport offer which perfectly complements our own offer to please and entertain all sports fans in the country.”

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