Al Jazeera is to launch two dedicated sports channels in France, following its acquisition of one of the five packages of Ligue 1 football rights granted by the country’s Professional Football League (LFP).
According to Charles Biétry, Al Jazeera’s sports chief in France, speaking to Le Parisien newspaper, one channel will be positioned as a premium service, while the other will be used to complement it. Biétry denied rumours that the channels would be available for €10 a month, which he said was too low. According to Le Parisien, Al Jazeera plans to charge €20 for access to both channels. Football fans who want to view all the games on offer from the French league will have to buy a subscription to Canal Plus in addition to Al Jazeera’s channels. Al Jazeera has exclusive rights to one Friday night and one Sunday afternoon match.
The channels will be launched in the summer, providing coverage of Ligue 1 matches to which Al Jazeera holds the rights. Biétry said the channels would be made available to all distribution providers. He said the broadcaster was open to a deal with CanalSat as well as with IPTV providers and cable. Biétry said that Al Jazeera had studied, but rejected, a possible purchase of the Orange Sports service before deciding to launch its own channels.
The LFP has meanwhile confirmed that it is closing down its own CFoot channel at the end of the current season. The LFP said it had taken the decision because of uncertainty about the future of pay TV on the country’s digital-terrestrial platform, lack of distribution opportunities and the overall economic climate. The LFP will place the rights it holds to Ligue 2 matches on the market as a result.
Separately, Canal Plus sports presenter Christophe Josse has reportedly agreed to join Al Jazeera as a presenter.
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