Somewhat audaciously, Orange is taking on Canal+ in the race to win the TV rights to top-flight French soccer. Canal+, which has 4.3 million pay-TV customers, paid 600 million in 2004 for the rights through to this Ligue 1 season; but it now faces a challenge to retain rights up until 2012 from the mobile operator, which has just over a million living room IPTV customers, Variety says. Despite how much money Orange may be able to stump up, le Fédération Française de Football is likely to want to secure maximum eyeballs. FFL’s rights come in 12 packages and Orange has made bids in each, Les Echos report (via Reuters). Dailymotion has bid for magazine and VOD rights, Vivendi’s (EPA: VIV) SFR mobile unit has bid for mobile and VOD rights. This year, there are also per-club rights. In the UK, Orange’s mobile unit has live broadcasts of all Premier League games thanks to TV packages from Sky Sports and Setanta Sports.
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