Orange Sport back on web and TV

Pascale Paoli Lebailly

Paris’ Court of Appeal has greenlit French operator Orange to again sell its channel Orange Sport, finding against competitors Free and SFR that had complained over Orange linking the channel to its triple-play offer.

The decision cancels that taken by Paris Court of Commerce on February 23 that had led Orange to suspend the sale of Orange Sport.

According to the Court of Appeal, Orange’s commercial practice isn’t unfair but regularly happens on the market. “All web access suppliers strain to enrich their offers to make them more attractive with innovative services or the acquisition of exclusive rights,” the judges decided.

The decision was welcomed by Frédéric Thiriez, the president of French professionnal football league (LFP) that receives €230 million each season (2008-2012) from Orange for the rights of League 1, shared with Canal+ Group.

Free and SFR could appeal again and take the case to Paris’ Court of Cassation, the highest court in the French judiciary. But there is another route – business authority Conseil de la Concurrence will take a decision on June 9 on whether or not Orange’s sport and movies exclusivities are contrary to competition rules.

Around 112,000 households are said to subscribe to Orange Sport for a monthly fee of €60.