Canal Plus has lobbied French parliamentary deputies to promote the idea of introducing legislation to create a reserved list of sporting events that would be available via digital-terrestrial TV, according to financial daily Les Echos.
According to the paper, Canal Plus is promulgating the idea that some sports events of national importance should be accessible to the largest possible audience, which in practice would mean that they should be available on the DTT platform.
The pay TV operator owns two free-to-air DTT channels – D8 and D17 – that it acquired last year from Bolloré, while its chief rival for sports rights, Al Jazeera-owned beIN Sport, has no presence on DTT. Under French law, a non-European company is restricted to a maximum of 20% ownership of any channel on the platform.
Canal Plus’s proposal, which would see a significant enlargement of the list of events of major importance that can be reserved for free-to-air TV, as identified by the European Commission, is still in its infancy, according to Les Echos, and could attract opposition on the grounds that it provided de facto protection for Canal Plus against competitors.
News of the move came as French rights for the Euro 2016 football tournament were divided between BeIN Sport and commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6. According to sports paper L’Équipe, BeIN Sport paid €60 million for rights to air 29 matches on pay TV, while TF1 and M6 paid €25 million each for the rights to 22 matches between them. This will mark the first time that the major part of an international football tournament of this type will be shown mainly on pay TV.