Al Jazeera Sports wins Ligue 1 distribution rights
Al Jazeera Sports has been awarded the international distribution rights for French league soccer over six seasons in a deal believed to be worth €192 million (US$276.6 million).
The Qatar Media Corporation-owned network has won the rights from Vivendi’s Canal+ Group, despite interest from the French broadcaster in continuing its contract. Canal+ Events’ existing international broadcasting rights agreement, an eight-year deal covering 2008/09 to 2011/12, saw the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) receive €15 million (US$21.6 million) during each of the first two seasons and €19 million (US$27.4 million) during each of the second two. However, the LFP chose to exercise an option to break the contract after four years.
Al Jazeera will be paying €32 million (US$46 million) per year to the LFP from 2012/13 onwards. The six-year deal, which spans the 2012/13 to 2017/18 seasons, gives Al Jazeera the international distribution rights for all games in Ligue 1, Ligue 2, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions.
LFP president FreÌdeÌric Thiriez said: “It’s an honour for the LFP to announce this deal with Al Jazeera Sports for the international distribution rights. This new deal will help Ligue 1 to continue its growth and reinforce its presence on the world football stage. Al Jazeera grants us a worldwide exposure and its bid was much higher than the two others received.”
Canal+ Events had held international distribution rights to LFP competitions since the organisation had first began commercialising itself outside of France. Al Jazeera Sports had already concluded a four-season deal, spanning 2012/13 to 2015/16, to broadcast Ligue 1 soccer in several Middle Eastern markets earlier in the year.
The international distribution rights deal coincides with the opening of negotiations for domestic rights to French league soccer from 2012 to 2016, with Monday 20th June the deadline for bidding broadcasters to declare their interest.
- Length of contract: 6 years
- Annualised value: US$46 million
- Overall value: US$276.6 million