Top 14
LNR angered by Canal+ TV rights offer
ESPNscrum Staff
January 30, 2011
Biarritz president Serge Blanco, April 26 2007
Biarritz president Serge Blanco had expressed a desire to secure a deal worth 50m euros a season © Getty Images

France's leading clubs have slammed what they consider a derisory offer from French broadcaster Canal+ for the next batch of Top 14 TV rights.

The Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR), the umbrella body representing the Top 14 and ProD2 clubs, put the TV rights out to tender last month and has since received ten bids but it is one from their current broadcast partner Canal+ that has hit the headlines.

L'Equipe reports that the pay-per-view giant, that agreed an estimated 104.5m euros four-year deal with the LNR in 2007, are no longer interested in an exclusive arrangement with their latest offer thought to be worth less than 20m euros a season - a significant reduction on their current premium.

The Top 14 clubs are hoping to secure an increase in revenue with Biarritz president Serge Blanco recently pinpointing a figure of 50m euros a season. In an unprecedented move, the LNR aired their dissatisfaction in a statement that named Canal+ and suggested the broadcaster was risking depriving their customers of Top 14 rugby as of next season.

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal, who heads up the LNR broadcasting rights committee, added fuel to the fire by telling the Var Matin newspaper that, "Canal + does not respect its customers."

The LNR remain confident that the Top 14 will continue to develop in the coming years and provide commercial worth to any would be broadcast partner. The sport's impressive profile, attendances and TV ratings underline their strong position but the LNR's hope that Canal+ will revise their offer is remote with the lack of a significant bidding rival. Fellow pay-per-view broadcaster Orange is not expected to enter the bidding process.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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