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French women’s handball league strikes rights deal with ‘Sport in France’ channel

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 24: Audrey Bruneau #15 of Fleury Loiret Handball shoots the ball during the women final game of the French National Cup between Fleury Loiret Handball and Issy Paris Hand at La Halle Carpentier on May 24, 2014 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

France’s top-tier women’s handball league announced on Tuesday that it has agreed a deal with the French Olympic committee’s ‘Sport in France’ free-to-air channel to broadcast the competition for the 2019-20 season.

The 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 French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) has agreed a non-exclusive sublicensing deal with digital terrestrial broadcaster L’Équipe TV for the four play-off matches.

L’Équipe currently also holds rights to both the men’s and women’s versions of the domestic club competition the Coupe de France.

The CNOSF and its ‘Sport in France’ production partner Media365 will meet 25% of the estimated €15,000 per match production costs, up to a maximum of €75,000.

LFH will also be responsible for 25 per cent of the costs, with the league contributing up to a maximum of €30,000 itself, while its title sponsor, Butagaz, and the constituent clubs will contribute up to a ceiling of €30,000 and €15,000, respectively.

France’s National Sports Agency will bear the remaining 50 per cent, up to a maximum of €150,000.

The first match of the ‘Sport in France’ deal will be Metz v Besançon on October 9.

The free-to-air broadcaster will entertain co-broadcast offers from interested parties for regular season matches.

The LFH said it continues to be open to securing rights deals with other broadcasters for matches not shown by Sport in France.

The Sport in France channel specialises in properties that do not have broadcast agreements. The deal gives LFH and its rights-holder, the French Handball Federation, breathing space to consider longer-term options for the property after the collapse in the summer of renewal talks with previous partner pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports.