Canal Plus completes hat-trick with Europa League package

Canal Plus, the French pay-TV broadcaster, has added a package of Uefa Europa League rights to its recently-acquired rights to the top-tier Champions League from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

The news was announced by Maxime Saada, chairman of the Canal Plus group executive board, who said on Twitter that the Vivendi-owned broadcaster had secured rights to the first-pick Europa League game.

Canal Plus has already acquired rights to the first-choice Champions League matches on Tuesdays and Wednesdays as pay-TV broadcaster beIN Sports picked up exclusive live rights to 104 matches per season and free-to-air broadcaster TF1 secured rights to the final. Those deals brought in a record sum of €375m ($417.3m) per season.

The addition of the Europa League rights represents a high-profile hat-trick of acquisitions for Canal Plus. This week, the broadcaster announced a deal with beIN to take on its French Ligue 1 rights from 2020-21 to 2023-24 as part of an exclusive distribution agreement.

Canal Plus has secured the top-pick game from either the Europa League or the new Europa Conference League, plus the final from both competitions, according to L’Équipe.

The rights package would equate to a total of 16 matches per season.

However, the rights are reported to have been awarded on a co-exclusive basis with bids set to be submitted by free-to-air broadcasters for the same matches. It is reported that offers must be submitted by December 16 under a new bidding round.

Altice, the telecoms operator, currently pays €350m per season for the exclusive rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21 to both the Champions League and Europa League. Matches are showcased by Altice on its RMC Sport subscription channels.

The Champions League/Uefa Super Cup and Europa League/Europa Conference were offered in separate joint tenders by Team Marketing, Uefa’s rights sales agency for club competitions.

A second package of rights (‘Lot B’), which comprises the rights to the remaining matches from the two competitions (a total of 266 per season), has not yet found a buyer and another round of bidding is though to have been initiated.

Canal Plus and beIN were dislodged as the rights-holders to the Champions League during the last sales process in May 2017 as Altice secured the rights.

Team opted to go to market early in France given the heightened competition, and with new-entrant Mediapro, the Spanish agency and production group, preparing to launch its new pay-TV channels on the back of its swoop for the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 rights.