Al Jazeera and Canal Plus have acquired the domestic Ligue 1 broadcast rights within France after the French Football League awarded five of the nine packages covering the 2012-16 seasons.
Vivendi-owned Canal Plus, which already holds pay-TV Ligue 1 rights, secured lots one, two, three and four, ensuring it can air a Saturday afternoon game and a Sunday evening match. Newcomer Al Jazeera won the fifth package, allowing the Qatar-based network to carry a Friday evening game and a Sunday lunchtime match.
Al Jazeera recently acquired overseas Ligue 1 broadcast rights in a six-year deal, but the move into domestic sports rights in France is seen as highly significant, with the broadcaster spending €90 million per year to buy its package. In total, the five packages will generate €10 million per year, League president Frederic Thiriez said.
The league had hoped to spark enough interest to at least match the €668 million per year it receives under the current contract, which will expire next year. Thiriez added that talks over the remaining four packages would take place over the coming days.
Earlier this week the League confirmed that incumbent rights-holders Canal Plus and Orange had been joined by Al Jazeera in the tender. Orange is understood to be bidding exclusively for Ligue 1’s mobile rights. Orange currently holds the mobile rights in a deal reportedly worth €60 million per year.