Pay-TV Group Canal+ Beats Out TF1 To Acquire F1 Rights In France For $38M Annually
In France, pay-TV group Canal+ has acquired the media rights to F1 for €29M ($38.7M) annually, according to L'EQUIPE. The news "will strike the F1 world like a small earthquake" after free-to-air channel TF1 had held the rights since '92. The contract is for three years and will go into effect on March 18 (L'EQUIPE, 2/14). SPORTUNE's Marc Limacher wrote F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone was asking for €40M ($53.4M) annually and had "two offers on the table." TF1's offer was for $20M ($26.7M) annually. The company was paying €31M ($41.4M) a year since '06 for the rights, but audience numbers have decreased from 3.5 million in '10 to "only" 2.5 million viewers in '12. Canal+ initially offered €27M ($36M) but ended up increasing its proposal to €29M (SPORTUNE, 2/14).
WALKING ON WATER: LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR's Jérôme Lefilliâtre opined Canal+ is "walking on water." Not long after renewing its rights for the Premier League, the pay-TV channel has now "acquired a prestigious victory by nabbing the F1 rights." It is another "significant investment" for the group, which will pay between €150-200M ($200-267M) for the EPL rights and already spends €420M ($560) "a season for French football" (LE NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR, 2/14).