Published: 10.09 Europe/London, June 22, 2011
Al Jazeera is in talks to take part in the Orange Sport channels, according to French newspaper reports. Al Jazeera is also a surprise bidder for broadcast rights to France’s Ligue 1 football championship for the 2012-2016 seasons.
Al Jazeera has sent a letter to France Telecom’s Orange hinting at the possibility of buying Orange’s sports channels or establishing a joint venture. According to a spokesperson for Orange, no meeting has so far been held, but could take place any moment.
The league said it had received offers from Canal+ unit, France Telecom’s Orange and Al Jazeera for the broadcast rights from 2012 through 2016. At the moment, Orange is only bidding for the mobile TV rights of the French league.
The future of Orange Sport still remains unclear. Last January, Orange CEO Stéphane Richard said that a decision on the future of Orange Sport would be taken soon.
“I expect the issue to be solved in 2011,” he said at the time. Richard also said that a number of parties are interested in acquiring Orange Sport, including the French football league LFP, TF1, ESPN and Ma Chaîne Sport. “But official negotiations have not yet started.”
Last January Orange reached a deal with Canal Plus to offer its other premium TV service, Orange Cinema Series, as a joint venture.