Despite the raft of fire sales currently being held by debt-beset Franco-American media giant Vivendi Universal, its pay-TV division is in go-go mode with the launch this Saturday of Sport Plus, a new all-sport subscription channel that will exploit the live broadcast rights for sixty different sports.

These include not only the ubiquitous rite of soccer but also such American delights as NBA basketball, NHL hockey and NFL football. The compete range of sporting rights were acquired from French media group Pathé in those distant days in January 2002 when Vivendi and its then presiding honcho J6M (Jean-Marie Messier, Moi Meme Maitre du Monde) could do no wrong.

Sports Plus will be broadcast exclusively via the CanalSatellite delivery system, a national network controlled by Canal Plus that reaches 2.5 million subscribers across France. It competes head-on with EuroSport, the sports channel owned by the nation’s leading network TF1.

The programming mix will also include golf, skiing and tennis. However, it is not thought that cricket will number among the cornucopia of delights to which Sports Plus viewers will be exposed. A British gunboat has reportedly been despatched up the Seine.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff