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Eurosport stalwart Bergeaud to lead Mediapro France

Julien Bergeaud, the general manager of Discovery’s operations in France, will lead the new pay-television service set up by the Mediapro agency in France.

Bergeaud (pictured), a stalwart of the Discovery-owned Eurosport, will assume the role of general director of Mediapro France.

The 45-year-old Bergeaud became general manager of Discovery France four years ago and additionally advises the media group on sports rights opportunities and business plans in Southern Europe.

Bergeaud said this afternoon: “The project to create the French football channel is fantastic and I am very happy to join Mediapro to meet this challenge, creating a channel that is the most appealing and accessible to the greatest number of people.”

Mediapro is stepping up its preparations ahead of the live Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 coverage that will take effect from the 2020-21 season.

The Spanish agency acquired the majority of live rights to the French top tier from 2020-21 to 2023-24 after bidding a total of €780m ($872.5m) per season for the main packages. Pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports and telecoms operator Free were also awarded packages as the league fetched an average of €1.15bn per season, a 59-per-cent jump on fees paid at present by Canal Plus and beIN.

Mediapro and beIN will share Ligue 2 rights from 2020-21 onwards in agreements worth €64m per year.

In less than a year, Mediapro has to establish offices for its French operations, strike distribution agreements for its channels and also hire a managing editor and supporting editorial staff.

The invitation to tender in France for Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights from 2021-22 to 2023-24 will also be on the broadcaster’s radar. It is expected before the end of the year as Team Marketing kicks off the new sales cycle.

Having joined Eurosport in 1999 and initially working in television rights sales, Bergeaud subsequently became director of rights sales and acquisitions. In 2010, he switched to the position of director of broadcasting and programmes and was named director of development in the summer of 2013.

His exit means the loss of another of the ‘old guard’ at the Paris-based broadcaster, following on from the departures last year of Arnaud Simon and Géraldine Filiol.

Following its acquisition of Ligue 1 rights, Mediapro predicted that it would require four million subscribers in order to break even. The “100-per-cent football” service is expected to be priced at around €25 per month.

It was reported in France last month that Cyril Linette, managing director of state betting organisation PMU and the former director general of the L’Equipe channel, had rejected the opportunity to lead the new Mediapro entity in France.