Al Jazeera said on Wednesday it
was thrilled to have won the French rights to broadcast all of
the Euro 2012 and 2016 football championships.
The Qatar-backed company will share the rights with
free-to-air channels TF1 and M6, who as part
of their package will broadcast France games which have to be
shown on free TV under French law.
Al Jazeera is using France as a testing ground for its
ambitions to be an international pay-TV sports broadcaster
having already become the Middle East and Africa's most popular
The French channels - dubbed beIN Sport - are set to launch
in early June and will cost 11 euros a month, according
to multiple industry sources.
Nasser Al Khelaifi, who heads beIN Sport as well as Qatar's
sports investment fund which owns Paris Saint-Germain, welcomed the decision by European football body UEFA
but did not specify how much Al Jazeera had paid for the rights.
"We are very pleased with this new partnership with UEFA,"
he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"This will allow the future subscribers of beIN Sport to be
the only ones in 2012 and 2016 to be able to watch all of the
matches of the Euros."
France was one of the last countries to select broadcasters
for the competition, which begins on June 8 and is being held in
Ukraine and Poland.
The agreement will see TF1 and M6 each pay 50 million euros
for the rights to 19 matches in the 2012 competition and 22 in
the 2016 tournament to be held in France.
TF1 will show the first match of the French national team
and the final. M6 will have the opening game, two of France's
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