Orange Sport faces the axe in 2012
By Robert Briel
Published: November 9, 2010 09.09 Europe/London

If France Telecom, the owner of the premium Orange Sport channel, is not able to find a buyer for the channel, it will cease operations in 2012, said Stéphane Richard, CEO of the telecom operator.

Possible buyers are the Canal+ Group and commercial broadcaster TF1, who already own the Eurosport channels. Last September, France Telecom was reportedly also in talks with US broadcaster ESPN.

Speaking to the French Le Parisien newspaper Richard said it is difficult to find a buyer for the channel, as it has run op considerable losses.”When a channel loses 200 million euros each year, it’s normal that they are not many people at the door.” But “the door is not closed with the League” of professional football. There are also opportunities, especially on the side of TF1 and Canal +,” he said. Orange Sport holds some of the live rights to the French football league till 2012.

Last July, Richard said that France Telecom was to concentrate on its core business and withdrawing from the premium content TV business.