Al Jazeera and M6 snap up Europa League rights in France

Pay-television broadcaster Al Jazeera and commercial broadcaster M6 acquired rights for the Uefa Europa League in France for three seasons, from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

M6’s secondary channel W9 will broadcast the first-choice match each week in addition to a highlights programme each match night. Any matches featuring French teams in the semi-finals and final will be shown on flagship channel M6.

Al Jazeera acquired rights to all matches, including the final, and will show at least two live matches per kick-off slot as well as highlights every match night.

The deals represent a further setback for pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus, which had hoped to renew its rights for the tournament to boost a weakening portfolio of football programming in France.

Canal Plus and M6 are the rights-holders in France in the current cycle, in separate deals running from 2009-10 to 2011-12. The two broadcasters bid jointly in the first two rounds for the new rights cycle. Team Marketing, the agency conducting the sales on behalf of football’s European governing body Uefa, asked them to submit separate offers for the rights in the latest round of bidding.

Al Jazeera dislodged Canal Plus as the main Uefa Champions League pay-television rights-holder in France late last year by purchasing four of the five packages on offer for 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Al Jazeera also outbid Canal Plus to acquire the bulk of the rights for the domestic football league, Ligue 1, from 2012-13 to 2015-16.

Al Jazeera is strengthening its portfolio ahead of launching its first two channels in the country this summer.