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TF1 pounces for Rugby World Cup rights

French commercial broadcaster TF1 has acquired rights for the 2015 edition of the Rugby World Cup in England, according to French newspaper l’Equipe.

The report said that the rights fee is “close” to the €40 million ($51.6 million) paid by the broadcaster for coverage of the 2011 edition of the quadrennial tournament in New Zealand.

The newspaper added that TF1 had been in talks about purchasing a package of rights comprising the next two editions of the Rugby World Cup, but could not agree on an overall fee to include the 2019 competition in Japan.

TF1 struck the deal with the IMG agency, which was representing Rugby World Cup Limited, the company that operates the tournament.

The broadcaster generated the largest television audience of 2011 in France for its coverage of last year’s Rugby World Cup final between France and New Zealand. The game, which France lost 8-7, attracted an average of 15.4 million viewers (an 82.3-per-cent audience share) and a peak of 18 million viewers.