Al Jazeera Sign USD275m Plus Deal to Distribute Ligue 1

June 1, 2011

Al Jazeera Sports has beaten current incumbent Canal+ Group in the award of the international distribution rights for the French Ligue 1 soccer tournament over six seasons in a deal believed to be worth as much as US$276.6m.

The network, prostate owned by the Qatar Media Corporation, has won the rights from Vivendi’s Canal+ Group, despite interest from the French broadcaster in continuing its contract.

Canal+ Events’ existing international broadcasting rights agreement, an eight-year deal covering 2008/09 to 2011/12, saw the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) receive $21.6m during each of the first two seasons and $27.4m during each of the second two.

The LFP have chosen to exercise an option in the original eight year deal, to break the contract midway through its duration.

Al Jazeera will be paying $46m per year to the LFP from 2012/13 onwards with the deal spanning over the 2012/13 to 2017/18 seasons. In addition to all international distribution rights for Ligue 1, Al Jazeera obtain the same package in Ligue 2, the Coupe de la Ligue and the Trophée des Champions.

LFP president Frédéric Thiriez said: “It’s an honour for the LFP to announce this deal with Al Jazeera Sports for the international distribution rights. This new deal will help Ligue 1 to continue its growth and reinforce its presence on the world football stage. Al Jazeera grants us a worldwide exposure and its bid was much higher than the two others received.”

Al Jazeera Sports had already concluded a four-season deal, spanning 2012/13 to 2015/16, to broadcast Ligue 1 soccer in several Middle Eastern markets earlier in the year.

The international distribution rights deal coincides with the opening of negotiations for domestic rights to French league soccer from 2012 to 2016, with Monday, June 20, the deadline for bidding broadcasters to declare their interest.