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Canal Plus, beIN Sports In Exclusive Talks For Distribution Deal

Vivendi-owned pay-TV banner Canal Plus Group and the global network beIN Sports have started exclusive talks to sign a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal in France. The two companies previously tried to forge a partnership in 2016 but it was denied by France’s anti-trust board.

Under the proposed deal, Canal Plus would distribute all of beIN Sports’s premium channels and content within Canal Plus’s packages. The French pay TV group would also become the exclusive distributor of beIN SPORTS to third-party providers across all platforms in France starting June 1.

Moreover, BeIN Sports would also sub-license exclusively its 2020-2024 Ligue 1 football rights to Canal Plus so that subscribers would have access to two games on each match for each season, starting from the next one running 2020/2021. The pact would run for a renewable period of five years.

Maxime Saada, the chairman of Canal Plus Group, said the “prospect of partnering with beIN Sports” would allow Canal Plus to “continue to broadcast Ligue 1 beyond the current season with 28 of the top 38 games of each season exclusive until 2024.”

Saada added that the deal would strengthen Canal Plus’s “long-standing partnership with beIN Sports” and help the company to “further extend its reach.”

Canal Plus, for which sports broadcasts are one of the major incentives to recruit subscribers, has suffered some setbacks within the last couple years after losing broadcasting rights to French Premier League soccer matches to Chinese-owned Spanish broadcasting group Mediapro. But Canal Plus is now getting back in the game, having recently joined forced with BeIN Sports to acquire the rights to the Uefa Champions League during the 2021-24 cycle.

Under the deal which is currently being discussed and will be submitted to beIN Sports’s employee representative bodies in France, the two companies would both retain their identities, brands and editorial autonomy, said the companies in a release.

“This partnership would also benefit and create value for the French TV and films production industry, of which Canal Plus is the largest investor,” said the release.

Meanwhile, Yousef Al-Obaidly, president of beIN Sports France and CEO on beIN Media Group, said the pact would be beneficial to beIN Sports and sports fans in France, giving the group “much more scale and reach across the French market”.

Al-Obaidly said that since beIN Sports’s launch in France in 2012, the company’s business has grown from “start-up to be one of the leading sports broadcasters in the country” and he added that the group plans to grow even further in France.

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