RMC Sport’s news channel set for closure

RMC Sport News, the sports news channel of the French division of telco Altice, is to close at the start of next month, it has been reported.

Pay-television operator Canal Plus has announced that RMC Sport News will no longer be available through its packages from June 2, with LÉquipe reporting that the channel will close for good on that date.

The channel launched in the summer of 2016 as BFM Sport, ahead of the start of France’s staging of the Uefa Euro 2016 national team football tournament.

It was part of a suite of sports channels launched amidst the sports rights and content push by Altice, the telecoms giant that bought SFR, the French telecoms operator, in 2014.

The channel was rebranded as RMC Sport News in the summer of 2018 to coincide with the rebranding of the Altice-owned SFR Sport subscription channels to RMC Sport.

RMC has displayed a dwindling interest in premium sports rights in France since arriving on the scene in 2015 with deals for English Premier League football, English rugby union’s Premiership and France’s top two basketball divisions. The loss of Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights from 2021-22 onwards has further called into question the long-term future of the RMC Sport channels.

Laurent Eichinger, the chief executive of RMC Sport, left his position at the start of 2020.

It recently emerged that RMC Sport had not paid the second half of its annual €10m ($10.9m) fee for rights to club basketball competitions organised by the Ligue Nationale de Basket amidst the Covid-19 shutdown. RMC Sport holds the exclusive rights to French basketball, with television rights said to account for 57 per cent of the LNB’s budget for 2019-20.