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EXCLUSIVE: Eurosport in talks with Canal Plus to sublicense Pro D2 French rugby

Discovery-owned Eurosport is in talks with pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus to sublicense some of the latter’s rights to the Pro D2, France’s second-tier rugby union club competition, SportBusiness Media understands.

Canal Plus acquired exclusive domestic rights to the property in July in a seven season deal from 2020-21 t0 2026-27. The deal also covers rights to Supersevens, a new competition for rugby sevens teams.

The broadcaster currently shares Pro D2 with Eurosport and public-service broadcaster France Télévisions for the five seasons from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

A sublicensing agreement would go a little way to helping Canal re-finance some of its outlay on its exclusive Pro D2 deal, which is worth an average of €8m ($8.9m) per season.

It is understood that Eurosport is the only broadcaster that is interested in sublicensing Pro D2.

Canal Plus also holds exclusive domestic rights to the top-tier Top 14 rugby union club competition from 2019-20 to 2022-23, and the equivalent international distribution rights from 2019-20 to 2024-25.

However, the broadcaster is facing a big loss on the Top 14 international rights deal following difficulties securing distribution in key markets.