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Canal+ takes further step in sports comeback with Europa League rights

French pay TV operator Canal+ has reportedly followed up its re-acquisition of UEFA Champions League rights alongside BeIN Sports and its likely Ligue 1 sublicensing agreement with BeIN by securing key rights to Europa League matches, according to French press.

According to sports paper L’Équipe, citing unnamed sources, Canal+ has secured a deal that will enable it to broadcast the top fixture from the Europa League for the 2021-24 seasons, or the first choice of the future Europa Conference League, the new third-tier European football competition that UEFA plans to launch in 2021. The pay TV operator will also be able to air the finals of both competitions, giving it 16 matches in total per season.

According to L’Équipe, Canal+ will not have exclusive rights to the competitions, with UEFA launching an appeal to seek a free-to-air channel to co-broadcast the same line-up.

A second package, covering all other matches from the two competitions, has yet to find a buyer, with an appeal for new bids to be launched imminently.

The acquisition of Europa League rights marks a further stage in Canal+’s battle to stage a comeback in sports broadcasting following the surprise acquisition of the bulk of Ligue 1 rights for the 2020-24 period by Spanish broadcaster and producer Mediapro last year.

This week’s agreement with BeIN Sport to sublicense the latter’s Ligue 1 matches on an exclusive basis for the same period covers Saturday and Sunday evening matches that are included in the LFP’s lot 3, which BeIN held onto in the same bidding round.