Al Jazeera wins French international football rights

France’s professional football league, the LFP, has awarded Al Jazeera the rights to commercialize the country’s premier league football championship for the next six years.

The deal is worth €32 million a year, or €192 million over six years. The LFP said that Al Jazeera’s was the most lucrative of three leading bids for the rights, and that it’s global reach would enable Ligue 1 games to build exposure in the Asian market.

The LFP has dealt a significant blow to Canal Plus, which secured the international rights in 2008 for eight years, but with the LFP retaining the right to re-negotiate for the last four of these. The deal, which covers Ligue 1, Ligue 2, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions, has been seen in France as a way to signal that the LFP has other options than Canal Plus when it comes to the sale of rights, ahead of negotiations for the sale of domestic rights, where Canal Plus has emerged as the only viable buyer in the wake of the withdrawal of Orange.