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French volleyball clubs contribute to production costs despite new TV deal

(Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

French volleyball clubs competing in the men’s and women’s CEV Champions League this season will still have to pay a share of broadcast production costs despite a new rights agreement, it has emerged.

Women’s sides Nantes VB and RC Cannes, along with men’s outfit Tours VB, were recently handed a boost as the French Olympic Committee’s ‘Sport in France’ channel came on board to show matches. This was in addition to existing domestic exposure on Eurosport, the pan-European sports broadcaster, under a deal that covers the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

However, the clubs will be responsible for 50 per cent of the production costs this season, reports L’Équipe. The French Volleyball Federation (FFVB) and the LNV, the domestic league, are expected to contribute the remaining 30 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

Up until two years ago, production costs were covered by the FFVB but the federation’s contribution was reduced last season to 60 per cent of costs that usually totalled around €10,000 ($11,070) per match.

It is reported that, in return for its reduced commitment, the FFVB is ceding the prize money paid by the CEV, the European confederation for volleyball, for each match played.

The recent Sport in France broadcast agreement was supported by the FFVB as it was seeking to secure more exposure for the country’s teams on the European stage. A total of nine group-stage fixtures are to be broadcast by Sport in France.

The channel is available in around 19 million French households as part of the basic package of IPTV operators such as Bouygues Telecom, Free, Orange and SFR.

Sport in France shot to prominence in September when it was announced as the broadcaster of France’s top-tier women’s handball league, ending the threat of a broadcast blackout for the competition. That deal covers 20 live Ligue Féminine de Handball matches, comprising 16 regular season fixtures and four play-off matches, including the play-off semi-finals and final.

The Sportradar agency distributes the CEV Champions League broadcast rights. Matches are also streamed by eurovolley.tv, the OTT subscription service launched by the CEV, European volleyball’s continental federation, and Sportradar.