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BeIN Sports France to cut editorial staff amid reorganisation

A beIN Sports mic during a Lidl Starligue match (by Sandra Ruhaut/Icon Sport via Getty Images)

French pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports has said it will undertake a reorganisation project that is expected to lead to the loss of around 20 jobs.

The project presented to staff representatives on Tuesday concerns the termination of around 20 positions, including 12 occupied by staff with permanent contracts, according to French newspaper L’Équipe.

The 12 staff are said to include five commentators, five reporters, a managing editor and a presenter.

In response to the news of the impending departures, beIN told AFP: “While the sports television market in France has been in a state of upheaval for the past few years, with increasing competition, the explosion in the amount of television rights, a significant drop in operator investment in the distribution of pay television, and the piracy spiral, beIN Sports France is facing significant economic tensions, like many sports broadcasters.”

The broadcaster said that it has “initiated an information-consultation process with its employee representative bodies with a view to making limited changes to its organisation to meet these challenges”, while stating it will seek to maintain “the positioning of beIN as a major player in sport in France in the long term”.

The job losses come with beIN having opted to sell on its live rights to Ligue 1 from 2020-21 to 2023-24 to pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus.

It has been predicted that some journalists from beIN could leave to join new subscription broadcaster Téléfoot. Earlier this week, it was announced that production and agency group Mediapro’s football-focused pay-television service in France will be known as Téléfoot as part of a deal struck with free-to-air commercial broadcaster TF1.

Mediapro is launching a subscription channel (or channels) in France on the back of its €780m- ($872m-) per-season contract for eight Ligue 1 rights packages from 2020-21 to 2023-24. Rights to Ligue 2 have also been secured over the same period, along with Uefa Europa League and Europa Conference League rights from 2021-22 to 2023-24.

The new Téléfoot service will show eight live Ligue 1 fixtures and eight live Ligue 2 fixtures per match week.

Impending job cuts at beIN come after telco Altice last month announced plans to gradually exit the pay-television sports rights market as part of a raft of measures designed to protect its audio-visual business.

Altice’s decision to close its RMC Sport News channel is part of this strategic shift, which will also see it make a wave of voluntary redundancies in its media division. These job losses will be made mandatory if there is insufficient take-up of the voluntary option.