French Top 14 Rugby Clubs Sign New Five-Year TV Rights Deal With Canal+
French Top 14 rugby clubs "will more than double their income from domestic TV rights after signing a new five-year deal with Canal Plus" worth €355M ($483M), according to the IRISH TIMES. The new deal averages out at €71M ($97M) per season over the lifetime of the deal, up from the €32M ($44M) that the clubs "will share this season." The French National Rugby League (LNR), which represents the Top 14 clubs, was "in negotiations with Canal Plus and beIN Sports, the Qatari-owned station that has in recent years outbid Canal Plus for rights to French league football and the Champions League." In the end, LNR "decided to stay with Canal Plus and extend a deal" that has run since '95. The move "will substantially add to the buying power of French clubs," which have "aggressively targeted Irish players in recent times" (IRISH TIMES, 1/15). The LNR said in a statement, "This new partnership ... will allow the Top 14 clubs to continue the development of their exposure and strengthen the status of the Top 14, which is the most attractive league in the world." LE MONDE reported the LNR ended its current contract with Canal+ at the end of the '15-16 season in early December. The league then "initiated a tendering procedure hoping to see a price increase to its TV rights, thanks to competition from the beIN Sports" (LE MONDE, 1/15).