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Champions League final to launch expanded 4K offering on TF1

The Uefa Champions League trophy during the competition's 2020-21 preliminary round draw (by Harold Cunningham - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

French commercial broadcaster TF1 is to offer its coverage of the 2019-20 Uefa Champions League final in ultra high-definition, as part of an expanded commitment to the format.

This season’s rescheduled final on August 23 will launch a new and exclusive range of sports and entertainment programming on the TF1 4K channel.

Along with the Champions League final, TF1 4K will also broadcast the French national team in action against Croatia on September 8. TF1 said the offering will expand with new programming, with TF1 4K to be available through carriage agreements with telcos Orange and Bouygues Telecom.

Ultra HD programming first hit French screens in 2016 when media company AB Groupe signed a long-term deal with the telco Ericsson to develop the country’s first 4K channel. The ‘Ultra Nature’ channel was launched to showcase travel, wildlife and extreme sports programming.

Pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus quickly followed suit as it teamed up with the French Football League (LFP) during the 2016-17 season and began offering Sunday Ligue 1 matches in ultra HD. During the 2018-19 season, Canal Plus started showing one match per week in 4K from French rugby union’s top flight.

The Vivendi-owned broadcaster upped its 4K output in September 2019 by showing the entirety of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and two English Premier League matches per week in the format.

The Champions League final in Lisbon will receive significant free-to-air coverage in France after TF1 last month finalised a sublicensing deal with the Altice-owned pay-television broadcaster RMC Sport.

TF1 will broadcast live coverage from the re-arranged final, which will take place at Benfica’s Estádio da Luz as the climax to an abridged ‘Final 8’ tournament introduced by Uefa after the European football season was hit by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

RMC Sport, which holds the Champions League rights in France from 2018-19 to 2020-21, will also show the match live.

It will be the first time that TF1 has broadcast the Champions League final since 2015. The broadcaster last year secured the free-to-air rights to the finals of the 2021-22, 2022-23 and 2023-24 tournaments during the rights auction in France.

Broadcasters in France must ensure live free-to-air coverage of the Champions League final given the country’s listed events legislation.