World Cup: French Team's Success Boosts Subscriber Figures for Al Jazeera-Owned Channel Bein Sports

 AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

PARIS – The World Cup has turned out to be a winner for pay TV network Bein Sports in France. 

Bein, which is owned by Quatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera, added 850,000 new subscribers in France this month, growing from 1.7 million households to 2.5 million ahead of the international soccer tournament, which kicked off June 12. 

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Bein Sports does not release subscriber numbers, but French polling firm Kantar Media surveyed 1,000 people across France from June 23 to 27 and revealed the new numbers on Thursday. Kantar said roughly 75 percent of Bein's new subscribers were between 25 and 49 years of age.

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French commercial broadcaster TF1 paid $130 million for rights in France for all World Cup matches, but TF1 resold rights to Bein for a reported $68 million (€50 million). As a result of the deal, Bein is airing all 64 World Cup matches while TF1 is broadcasting only 28 games, including all matchups involving the French and Algerian national teams, as well as the semifinals and finals.

As with all international broadcasters, TF1 and Bein carry the same feed for World Cup matches from Brazil but provide different on-air commentary.

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Monday’s France-Nigeria match drew 1.16 million viewers on Bein Sports, on top of the 16 million that watched on TF1. It remains to be seen how significant the World Cup bump will be for Bein. The new subscriptions do not extend, however, so users may cancel after the tournament is over.

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