Canal+ ordered to show French league games in TV rights feud

PARIS (AP) — French broadcaster Canal+ said Thursday it was ordered by a French court to respect its contract to show two Ligue 1 matches per week, a setback for the channel in its dispute with rival beIN Sports.

The commercial court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre rendered its ruling just before the start of the French league season on Friday.

Canal+ said in a statement it will appeal the decision, which won’t be made public by the court before Friday.

The channel bought the package of two games per week from beIN Sports before the collapse of the French league’s huge deal with Mediapro for the other eight games. That allowed Amazon to buy the majority of the TV rights for French league matches for a much cheaper price than Canal+ paid.

The Mediapro deal collapsed within months when it could not afford to pay, leading to the rights being sent back for a new round of bidding.

Eight of the 10 weekly games are to be shown by new broadcaster Amazon, with Canal+ left with two matches it earlier bought from beIN Sport.

Canal+ said the court ruling will force it to “suffer the consequences of the unfair treatment” decided by the league.

“While the Canal+ Group will have to pay the equivalent of €332 million per season to broadcast two matches per day, Amazon will broadcast eight matches, including the 10 best matches of the season, for €250 million, an amount almost six times lower per match,” Canal+ said.

The French league’s new season starts Friday when Monaco hosts Nantes. PSG opens its campaign at promoted Troyes on Saturday, a game expected to be aired on Canal+.

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