We know the song. Except for the meetings of the French team and a few rare events cataloged as a “sporting event of major importance” – and therefore visible free of charge, such as the final of the Champions League or that of the Coupe de France -, impossible for the amateur football viewer to attend his favorite show without subscribing to pay channels, be it Canal +, BeIN Sports or RMC Sport.
In this landscape where money reigns supreme, there is however a TNT channel, therefore accessible free of charge, which has been offering a live football show of a certain quality every week since the end of July. An agreement with Amazon, a new major (and paying) French football broadcaster – and holder of 80% of the rights to Ligue 2 -, allows La channel L’Equipe (from the daily of the same name) to broadcast an L2 multiplex, namely seven or eight live matches each week, generally on Saturdays at 7 p.m.
“A natural and necessary complementarity in the service of television viewers and, more generally, of football as a whole, underlines Laurent Prudhomme, CEO of the L’Equipe group. The multiplex format, invented by radio, is perfectly suited to free media. “
Peak at 1 million viewers
This choice to offer Ligue 2 matches live to as many people as possible quickly paid off for the small channel born in 1998 and visible on TNT since 2012. Saturday, July 24, for its first L2 multiplex broadcast at 7 p.m. at 9 p.m. live and presented by Bertrand Latour, the one who now claims to be “First 100% free sports channel” attracted 645,000 viewers on average. A considerable success for an antenna used to more confidential audiences. At 8:50 p.m., a few minutes before the end of the meetings, a peak at 1 million was even recorded.
The audiences of the following multiplexes confirmed the public’s enthusiasm for this Ligue 2 championship of a good level, contested by well-attended clubs (Bastia, Caen, Nîmes, Auxerre, Sochaux or Toulouse, for example). For the first ten days of the championship, eight matches will be offered free of charge, in full and live, on Live Team.
The multiplex, a televisual exercise popularized a long time ago by Canal + and with well-honed dramaturgy (we go from one stadium to another and, as soon as a goal is scored, the viewer is warned and can see the decisive action ), helps strengthen the football offer of a channel which, for lack of substantial financial resources, could not offer much to fans of the most popular sport on the planet, which has become very expensive for candidate broadcasters.
But by seizing a few opportunities (German Cup and King’s Cup matches in Spain, qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup, League of Nations, etc.), The L’Equipe channel refuses to give up the fight concerning a sport which continues to record high audiences, regardless of the show on offer.
Even without a match, fans remain loyal to “L’Equipe du soir”, the channel’s star program, mainly focused on football debates. On Monday 23 August, its emblematic host, Olivier Ménard, begins his fourteenth season at the head of this event, the average audience of which is around 250,000 viewers.