Billionaire Patrick Drahi-owned Altice Group has secured the rights to broadcast the English Premier League in France and Monaco for three years. Altice said its customers would be able to view all the 380 games between England's top-tier teams.
It is expected to pay about €100m (£70.3m, $106.1m) a year for the contract that runs for the next three seasons starting in August 2016. Altice, which owns Numericable-SFR, the second-largest mobile and internet provider in France said that both its mobile and fixed customers including affiliates in France and Monaco would be able to view the games.
Nicolas Rotkoff, entertainment and sports chief executive at Altice, said that the deal was "another big step for Altice's investment strategy to provide the best in class TV content and broadband packages to its customers across the world."
The operating margins at Numericable-SFR have improved after the company underwent a lot of cost cutting measures in the past few months. However, its subscriber base still continues to fall. The percentage of fall has, however, declined compared to the previous year.
In the last two years, Altice cable group has made numerous acquisitions in the telecoms assets space in Europe and beyond. While in April 2014, it acquired SFR for €17bn, in November of the same year it picked up Portugal Telecom for €7.4bn and this year, it bought US cable operators Suddenlink and Cablevision.
These moves, which helped Drahi place the company among Europe's big leagues, have also increased Altice's debts from €1.7bn in 2012 to about €48.5bn by the end of 2016.
Loss to Canal Plus
This deal, however, comes as a blow to Vivendi's Canal Plus whose current three-year contract to broadcast the same cost it €65m a year. This loss comes less than three months after Vincent Bolloré, chairman at Canal Plus said, "We will invest more in sport, which is in Vivendi's DNA."
Canal Plus, however, still has the rights to broadcast the French Ligue 1 championship, which it is expected to extend from 2016 with the addition of an extra live game per week.
According to Vivendi's website, Canal Plus's subscribers in mainland France have dropped to 5.9 million in September compared with 6.1 million at the end of 2014.