Advanced-Television.com can confirm that Canal Plus has lost the majority of its broadcast rights to the UEFA Champions League football matches to Al Jazeera’s sports division. Al Jazeera paid around €180 million to cover the games for a three-year period beginning with the 2012-13 season. The amount paid was reportedly twice what the French pay-TV operator had offered.
Al Jazeera now gets to cover 133 matches per season in return for paying some €60 million per season. Al Jazeera has already won the rights to cover many of the French domestic soccer games from next year. A Qatar-based media fund already controls Paris St Germain, a top French soccer club.
Canal Plus, in a statement, admitted that the lost matches were a blow but added that its core Canal Plus channel offered more than just movies and soccer.
One series of 13 important Champions League games is still up for grabs, including coverage of the final although this has traditionally been awarded to French free-to-air network TF1.