Ambitious operator Altice strengthened its multiplay strategy in France by snatching broadcasting rights for English Premier League football, including on mobile devices, from under the nose of current holder, Vivendi’s Canal Plus.
“This exclusive partnership with England’s Premier League represents a new major step in our industrial plan. The convergence of our telecom assets with exclusive content is core to our long term strategy,” stated Michel Combes, Altice COO and chairman of SFR.
The contract means Altice can show fixed and mobile customers in France and Monaco live broadcasts of all matches between England’s top teams, for three years from August 2016.
The cost was not revealed but is thought to be about €100 million a year, well in excess of the €65 million a year presently paid by Canal Plus, for whom sports coverage is central to its strategy.
Canal Plus still controls broadcast rights to the domestic Ligue 1 football but the English Premier League, which features many French stars, is considered a key attraction for viewers. Losing out to Altice is a blow to the French broadcaster.
Altice is the owner of French mobile operator SFR, which was acquired last year for €17 billion, as well as cable operator Numericable. It has moved centre stage in France by first acquiring platforms, and now content, although its debt-fuelled expansion strategy has proved controversial with some investors.