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France Télévisions bids for Rugby World Cup, but not European Qualifiers

French public-service broadcaster France Télévisions said it had tabled an offer for the 2015 and 2019 Rugby World Cup media rights, but had decided against bidding for the rights for Uefa’s new European Qualifiers product, covering European qualifying matches for Uefa Euro 2016 and the Fifa 2018 World Cup, including the France national team’s qualifiers.

First-round bids in both tenders were due yesterday, May 31.

French newspaper L’Equipe said TF1 had made bids for both the rugby and football rights, while commercial rival M6 and pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus had both bid for the European Qualifiers, but not the Rugby World Cup.

France national team football matches, and the semi-finals and final of the Rugby World Cup, must be broadcast on free-to-air television under French listed events law. Canal Plus could possibly use its free-to-air general entertainment channel Direct 8, which it acquired in December, to satisfy the listed events laws.

L’Equipe reported that other broadcasters and sports marketing agencies may have also be involved in the bidding for both properties.

Uefa, football’s European governing body, is selling the rights for the European football qualifiers on a centralised basis for the first time. The IMG agency is brokering the Rugby World Cup rights deal in France.