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Altice France ‘unlikely’ to bid for Ligue 1 rights

Altice France/SFR is unlikely to participate in the forthcoming auction for French Ligue 1 football rights, according to CEO Alain Weill.

Alain Weill

Weill, interviewed by the Journal du Dimanche, said that RMC Sport, the group’s new sports offering, worked “very well” without the French championship, however important it is. The sports service holds the rights to Champions League and Europa League football, along with other content.

Weill said that Altice would distribute RMC Sport on SFR’s platform and OTT, but was also open to distributing it via third-party providers such as Free, Orange or Canal+.

Weill also said that Altice plans to sub-license a number of Champions League matches to other broadcasters, in line with the commitment to air a certain number of matches on a free-to-air basis.

Weill told the JDD that Altice’s aim was to have as significant a presence in media as it had in telecoms, and that the group’s media activity was set for growth. He said that after a “difficult” 2017 this year would “the year of reconquest” with significant improvements in customer experience.

Weill’s comments follow the completion of Altice France’s acquisition of NextRadioTV following regulatory approval of the deal.

Altice, which had previously acquired a 49% stake in NextRadioTV in 2015, is now 100% owner of the group, which was founded by Weill.

Weill first unveiled Altice France’s plans for growth to journalists in March, and announced that SFR Sport would be renamed RMC Sport to help it strike distribution deals beyond the parent goup.