Eleven still in talks over Ligue 1 deal in Belgium and wants UK broadcast law scrapped
Eleven Sports, the international pay-TV operator, said today it remains in talks about renewing rights in Belgium to broadcast Ligue 1, after the first two weeks of the top French soccer league were not broadcast in the country.
The broadcaster has also vowed to lobby soccer authorities and regulators in the UK to scrap a decades-old law restricting live soccer broadcasts in a Saturday afternoon window, which impacted its scheduling this weekend.
Eleven launched in Belgium ahead of the 2015-16 season with a three-year Ligue 1 rights deal, but that contract expired last season and a new agreement has yet to be reached.
Asked on Twitter today when it would be showing Ligue 1 matches again, Eleven Sports' Belgian account replied: "We do not know yet. We are still in negotiations."
Earlier this year, Eleven retained rights to Spain's LaLiga and Italy's Serie A in Belgium, and added Germany's Bundesliga to its portfolio in the country for the first time.
International rights to Ligue 1 for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle are sold by BeIN Media Group, the international pay-TV broadcaster, on behalf of LFP, the French professional league.
Eleven began its live soccer coverage in the UK and Ireland this week, armed with rights to LaLiga and Serie A.
It has teamed up with Facebook to offer a free live stream of at least one game per week from each of the leagues, and earlier this month championed the fact that Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo's Serie A debut for Juventus against Chievo on 18 August would be part of the Facebook offering.
However, the 5pm kick-off in the UK, meant that it fell into the 2.45pm to 5.15pm slot in which broadcasters in the UK are prevented by law from showing live soccer matches.
Eleven, therefore, was forced to miss showing the first 15 minutes of the match.
It said in a statement: "No other countries outside the UK and Montenegro apply this rule. We disagree with it and we will continue to challenge it with the best interests of our customers at heart."
The restriction is intended to protect attendances at matches in the UK that kick off at the traditional time of 3pm.