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Canal Plus to launch Premier League and Top 14 digital channels

French pay-TV broadcaster Canal Plus is to launch dedicated digital channels to showcase its coverage of the English Premier League and French rugby union’s Top 14.

The channels will be available from December 26 onwards on the MyCanal streaming service for Canal Plus subscribers.

Christophe Pinard-Legry, Canal Plus’ marketing and commercial director in France, told L’Équipe: “Our subscribers were asking to consume sport differently. The [linear] Canal+ channels, with programming that covers cinema, entertainment series and sport, did not allow fans of rugby or English football to find their content.

“We are therefore changing the way in which we present and broadcast them [the competitions] by presenting them by competition on MyCanal.”

The Vivendi-owned broadcaster does not plan to offer the channels on a standalone basis but will instead provide them at no additional cost to existing Canal+ Sport customers. After analysis of the take-up of the duo of new channels, the broadcaster is expected to look at adding more property-specific channels, including a Formula 1 offering.

It is reported that Premier League World, the weekly magazine show provided to rights-holding broadcasters, could be shown on Canal Plus’ new channel. It is not presently aired by the broadcaster. The Top 14 channel would be able to offer highlights from Saturday afternoon matches in the lead-up to the Saturday evening prime time clash.

The addition of the digital channels will also help easy scheduling headaches for Canal Plus, especially when a weekly Saturday evening clash from France’s Ligue 1 is added to the programming next season (following a recent agreement with erstwhile rights-holder beIN Sports).

Canal Plus shares the Premier League rights in France with RMC Sport, the Altice-owned subscription broadcaster. Canal Plus secured the rights from 2019-20 to 2021-22 in a deal worth just over €90m ($98.6m) per year but entered into a sharing agreement with Altice earlier this year.

Canal Plus’ four-year contract for Top 14 rights runs from 2019-20 to 2022-23 and is worth €97m per year.

The Canal+ Sport package is currently priced at €34.90 per month.