Pay-TV broadcasters Canal Plus Afrique and Kwesé Sports have acquired media rights to French soccer’s top-flight Ligue 1 in sub-Saharan Africa.
Canal Plus Afrique, the African arm of French broadcasting giant Canal Plus, has been awarded the French-language rights across the region, with Kwesé Sports picking up the English and Portuguese-language rights to the league.
The deals are due to run for six seasons, from 2018/19 to 2023/24.
The rights packages for both broadcasters incorporate several other French soccer properties, including second-tier Ligue 2, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions, the season-opener between the league and cup winners.
In addition, French-language channel TV5 Monde will cover one Ligue 1 match per week in sub-Saharan Africa.
The rights were sold by Qatari broadcaster BeIN Media Group, which in 2014 bought Ligue 1’s international rights for six seasons from 2018/19 in a deal worth around US$69 million per year.
In the current three-season cycle, which ends in 2017/18, French-language rights are held by Canal Plus, which pays US$12 million season, while English and Portuguese-language rights are held by US pay-TV broadcaster Fox Sports.
According to sports news outlet Sportcal, the total value of the Ligue 1 rights in the sub-Saharan region is believed to have almost tripled, rising from the current figure of €12 million (US$14.4 million) per year to around €35 million (US$42 million) per year, caused in part by growing competition for the English-language rights.