French clubs get richer thanks to new TV deal
January 15, 2014
The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the organisation that runs domestic rugby in France, has announced a new five-year deal with broadcaster Canal+ for the TV rights to screen the Top 14 exclusively live. The contract is worth an average of €71 million (£59 million) per season.
The new deal runs from the start of next season through until the end of 2018-19. At present, the TV rights are worth €32 million a year.
The substantial increase in revenue for French clubs will further increase their spending power which will sound alarm bells to clubs across the world.
The LNR said it believed the new deal would enable them to "strengthen the status of the Top 14 as the most attractive league in the world".
The award of the rights came after a tender process in which it was expected that Qatari-owned BeIn Sport, which has hoovered up other rights in France, would be a serious player. Canal+ further upped the ante by threatening legal action over the LNR's call for bids.
At one point there had been speculation that the new deal could be worth in excess of €100 million a year.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall