L’Équipe TV poised to land French basketball league rights

Digital terrestrial broadcaster L’Équipe TV is reportedly poised to acquire rights to the Ligue Nationale de Basket.

Talks between the broadcaster and France’s basketball league are at an advanced stage and should be finalised in the coming days, according to newspaper L’Équipe.

Under the proposed deal, L’Équipe TV would show the top match from each match week, potentially on a Monday evening.

The 2020-21 season is scheduled to begin on September 23.

LNB rights were held by telco Altice from 2015-16 to 2019-20, consisting of both the Pro A and Pro B leagues. It also held rights to French Basketball Federation events for the same period.

However, Altice is now retreating from the pay-television sports-rights market as part of a raft of measures designed to protect its audio-visual business.

Earlier this year, the Altice-owned RMC Sport suspended the payment of the second half of its annual €10m ($11.7m) fee for rights to the league.

Michel Mimran, director general of the LNB, told L’Équipe in April: “This plunges us into an extreme difficulty. I am waiting for more explanations from RMC Sport so that we can discuss it, not just a simple letter, because a lot of matches have already been broadcast.”

Altice sublicensed rights to 12 Pro A matches to L’Équipe TV in the 2015-16 season. But the latter chose not to extend the deal into the following season due to illegal broadcasts of the league at the time.

Meanwhile, the ‘Sport in France’ free-to-air channel will broadcast live the final of the women’s Coupe de France basketball knock-out competition on September 18.

This is one of the French basketball federation events that Altice held before that contract’s expiry on June 30.

‘Sport in France’ announced last week that it will continue to broadcast the country’s top-tier women’s handball league into the 2020-21 season.