RugbyU: Canal Plus pay record price to retain rights for Top14 rugby
Pay TV channel Canal Plus retained the broadcasting rights for France's cash rich Top-14 on Tuesday in a four-year deal worth a record 74million euros a year ($85m), the French Rugby League (LNR) announced on Tuesday.
The deal, the biggest broadcasting deal in the history of the sport in France, runs from 2015-2019 and will further boost the growing popularity of French rugby's booming Top-14 league.
It does not, however, guarantee Canal Plus the rights to the championship final itself.
An original and slightly lower fee (71m euros) had been agreed upon last year, but was contested by Canal Plus' rival the Qatari owned beIN Sports, who hold the rights to European Champions Cup matches.
The LNR, who have sold their rights to Canal Plus since 1998, were forced to put the deal out to tender again.
Canal Plus will broadcast at least three games per matchday, two on their standard channel and one on their Canal Plus Sports channel.
"This new partnership is for a sum which will allow the Top 14 to continue to grow and to consolidate its' status as the most attractive in the world," the LNR said.
Thanks to rich owners and a previously lucrative TV contract French teams have been able in recent years to attract top names from the southern hemisphere and from their Six Nations rivals -- like now retired England legend Jonny Wilkinson and Irish fly-half Jonathan Sexton.
Only on Tuesday Bordeaux-Begles announced the signing of Australian international prop Sekope Kepu while rivals Montpellier secured the transfer for next season of his international team-mate scrum-half Nic White.
© 2015 AFP