When they launch, Al-Jazeera’s sport channels beIN Sport 1 & 2 will have a potential reach of 14 million households, the group announced in Paris.
The two pay-TV channels will kick off on 1 June and August 2012 respectively cotsing €11 fee a month. It will be available on all French cable and IPTV platforms including Numericable, Alice, Bouygues Telecom, DartyBox, Free, Orange and SFR.
On the satellite platform, and despite protected negotiations with Canalsat which haven’t yet found any resolution, the two channels will be carried on Orange Sat, SFR Sat, Bis, Parabole Réunion. An agreement has also been found with Eutelsat for direct satellites Hot Bird 13° East and Eutelsat 5 West A.
Presented as general multi-sport channels, beIN Sport 1 and 2 will focus on football but not only. Rugby, basket, golf, car and motor racing will also complete the line-up.
“Our channels will not be football channels only,” VP of programmes Charles Bietry assured viewers. “16 sports are part of the line-up including athletics, basketball, handball and volley ball.”
However, football will be the likely main kicker and its premium channels will offer eight live matches out of ten from French League 1, as well as 100 % of UEFA Champions League (133 matches live), 100 % of UEFA Europa League while the Real Madrid-Barcelona Classico is set to be offered next season. As of 8 June, beIN Sport will also broadcast the whole of the Euro 2012 football tournament live, including 12 exclusive matches out of 31. The full tennis, handball and basketball matches from the London Olympics will also be delivered.
Charles Bietry denied however that the intention of the group was to acquire rights to big events such as Roland-Garros tennis open or matches of the French football team.
In addition to live and delayed sport retransmissions, the channels’ schedules will also offer talk-shows. Some are even set to be aired in free unencrypted slots; these may compete with the upcoming FTA DTT sport channel L’Equipe TV.
CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi did not disclose the budget of the two channels, nor the amount devoted to rights acquisitions. Both channels will employ 150 people including 58 journalists. But he mentioned “we will be there for a long time, with the objective to recruit as many susbcribers as possible,” he added.
Asked about further plans in the TV landscape, he ironically added: “I’m ready to launch into the movie industry but we can’t compete with Canal+ in all sectors.”