Canal+ and BeIN Sports have signed a draft exclusive distribution agreement, reports Le Monde.
If it is concluded, then only Canal+ and CanalSat will have the right to distribute BeIN Sports, which currently holds the rights to such key completions as the Champions League and France’s Ligue 1.
Canal+, adds Le Monde, has sent the draft agreement to the competition authority, which received it today (Thursday, February 18). Significantly, Canal+ has asked not only for the agreement to be authorised but also for the lifting of an injunction, dating back to the merger of TPS and CanalSat in 2006, that prevents it from distributing premium channels such as BeIN Sports.
Given that the sports rights acquired by BeIN Sports are estimated to have cost the Qatari channel in the region of €350-400 million a year, the agreement with Canal+ will probably be worth several hundred million euros.
BeIN Sports is estimated to have lost €250 million last year despite having 2.5 million subscribers, with each paying around €13 a month for the channel.
Securing permission from the competition authority for the agreement will by no means be a foregone conclusion. Indeed, the authority will shortly launch a market test to sound out stakeholders on the issue of sports rights in France.
The results of the test should be known within a month, after which the authority is expected to decide on the proposed Canal+/BeIN Sports deal.