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French government moves to help France Télévisions compete for sports rights

Broadcaster currently not allowed to show advertising during live sports airing after 8pm

The French Government’s Council of State has recommended ending a ban on advertising during live sport coverage airing after 8pm in order to help public broadcaster France Télévisions better compete for sports rights.

France Télévisions sports rights and production budget has been reduced in recent years in the face of heightened competition from pay-TV broadcasters and the French government has now recommended the reversal of legislation first introduced a decade ago.

In its annual sports report, the Council of State said it thinks it is “advisable to allow, via an exemption, advertising on public service channels after 8pm during the broadcast of sports events in order to finance the purchase of broadcast rights to sporting competitions.”

It recommended that the exemption includes only live broadcasting of sports events and that the advertisements “would not interrupt a programme” but take place “during breaks in the game.”

The Council of State said that it was taking action because rights fee increases threaten to put rights to major events “out of the public service broadcaster’s reach.”