New record TV deal for French Top 14 Rugby

French pay tv channel Canal Plus has retained the broadcasting rights for France’s Top-14 Rugby tournament with a four-year deal worth a record 74million euros a year ($85m).

The new broadcasting deal is the biggest in French rugby history and will run from 2015 to 2019.

French clubs are aloready cash rich and this deal will only make the clubs richer allowing them to sign bigger deals with foreign internationals in order to increase the standard of rugby.

While the TV deal is the biggest broadcasting deal in the history of the sport in France it does not guarantee Canal Plus the rights to the championship final itself.

An original and slightly lower fee (71m euros) had been agreed upon last year, but was contested by Canal Plus’ rival the Qatari owned beIN Sports, who hold the rights to European Champions Cup matches.

The LNR, who have sold their rights to Canal Plus since 1998, were forced to put the deal out to tender again.

Canal Plus will broadcast at least three games per matchday, two on their standard channel and one on their Canal Plus Sports channel.

“This new partnership is for a sum which will allow the Top 14 to continue to grow and to consolidate its’ status as the most attractive in the world,” the LNR said.

Thanks to rich owners and a previously lucrative TV contract French teams have been able in recent years to attract top names from the southern hemisphere and from their Six Nations rivals — like now retired England legend Jonny Wilkinson and Irish fly-half Jonathan Sexton.

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