Canal+, IMG score pricey soccer rights

LONDON — French pay TV giant Canal Plus and Mark McCormack’s IMG have agreed to pay $160 million over three years for international TV rights to English soccer.

The pricetag is more than three times greater than the current contract held by CSI, which lost out to Canal Plus/IMG in the bidding for the new deal.

CSI previously paid roughly $15 million a year to market the English Premier League abroad. The new deal begins when the current season ends next summer.

This inflation reflects the importance of top-flight soccer as a driving force behind the international growth of pay television.

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