‘Sport in France’ to show French volleyball league until end of season

The French Olympic committee’s ‘Sport in France’ free-to-air channel has agreed a deal with France’s National Volleyball League (LNV) to broadcast the men’s and women’s top-tier competitions for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

‘Sport in France’ will show a maximum of 25 matches under the deal, comprising 10 regular-season fixtures and 15 play-off matches.

The first match shown under the agreement will be on January 18 between Narbonne and Montpellier in men’s championship. The men’s and women’s seasons began last October.

Total production costs will be up to around €250,000 ($278,640), according to local news outlet France24.

France’s National Sports Agency will pay up to €100,000 of the outlay, while the remainder will be provided by the LNV through the clubs and its ball-supplier, Molten, as well as the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF).

The NSA will also pay €50,000 towards the operation of LNV’s subscription OTT platform, lntv.com, according to France 24. The platform shows all matches from the men’s and women’s top-tier as well as the second-tier men’s division. It is operated by sports data and technology company Genius Sports.

Following a lack of interest during an invitation to tender, the LNV began streaming its matches online at the start of the 2018-19 season in a tie-up with Sportradar and Oppia Performance, the Belgian live streaming and automated production company subsequently acquired by Genius.

Matches had previously been shown in France by L’Équipe, the free-to-air digital terrestrial sports channel. L’Équipe came on board as the LNV’s domestic rights-holder in 2015 in a three-season agreement, following on from the end of the league’s deal with sports broadcaster Ma Chaîne Sport.

The regular-season matches to be broadcast by Sport in France will be split between the men’s and women’s league.

The play-off matches will include one men’s quarter-final, one men’s semi-final, one women’s semi-final and both the men’s and women’s finals. Each of the play-off fixtures includes up to three matches: home, away and a possible decider.

‘Sport in France’ specialises in properties that do not have broadcast agreements. It already has rights to broadcast nine group-stage matches featuring French volleyball sides in this season’s Europe-wide CEV Champions League.

The channel is available in around 19 million French households as part of the basic package of IPTV operators such as Bouygues Telecom, Free, Orange and SFR.

The broadcaster is also showing the top-tier French women’s handball league in 2019-20 after the collapse last summer of the rights-holder’s renewal talks with previous partner pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports.