French media giant CANAL+ Group has confirmed that it has entered into exclusive talks with beIN Sports with a view to entering an exclusive distribution and sublicensing deal in France.
Explaining the rationale for the discussions CANAL+ said that the global media industry has seen the emergence of powerful vertically-integrated players, and also up-start OTT offerings, that have transformed and crowded the competition landscape for sports broadcasters around the world, including in France.
CANAL+ sees working with beIN Sports’ as delivering what it called an ‘outstanding’ sports rights portfolio, while it suggested that beIN Sports would benefit from its expertise, distribution know-how and infrastructure to establish much broader scale and reach across the French market.
Under the proposed agreement with a renewable period of five years, the 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 from 1June 2020.
In addition, 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.
CANAL+ and beIN Sports, which would both retain their identities, brands and editorial autonomy, would continue to respond independently to sports rights tenders.
“This deal would be extremely positive for beIN Sports and for sports fans in France,” said Yousef Al-Obaidly, president of beIN Sports France and CEO of beIN Media Group. “It secures our long-term business sustainability while giving beIN Sports much more scale and reach across the French market...We have ambitious and long-term plans to grow the business even further in France, of which this partnership is an important first step.”
Maxime Saada, chairman of the CANAL+ Group executive board, added: “We are very excited with the prospect of partnering with beIN Sports over this ambitious project, which is great news for our subscribers and all sports fans. beIN Sports has an amazing sport offer which perfectly complements our own offer to please and entertain all sports fans in the country.”
The contemplated agreement will now be submitted to beIN Sports’ employee representative bodies in France.