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Formula One strikes first major broadcast deal since takeover as pay-TV networks begin to move in

Canal+ have acquired the rights to all races including the long-awaited return of the French Grand Prix

Formula One has agreed its first major media rights deal under the new ownership after confirming a new partnership with pay TV broadcaster Canal+.

The multi-year deal with the Vivendi Group Major-owned network will run from 2018-2020 and follows on from the recent announcement that the French Grand Prix will return to the Formula One calendar in 2018 after a ten-year absence.

Under the terms of the agreement, the French channel will have the rights to broadcast all grand prix events, as well as Formula 2 and GP£, across all its associated channels including Canal+, Canal+Sport.

Sean Bratches, managing director of commercial operations at Formula 1, said the company would benefit hugely from Vivendi’s planned marketing and brand building integration opportunities as well as its “far-reaching leadership in music, film, long and short form TV, digital and gaming”.

Formula One’s global director of media rights, Ian Holmes, added that the Vivendi Group of companies presented the sport with the opportunity to “further explore and develop innovative ways to bring the Championship to the fans”.

In the announcement Holmes also revealed that there was a “free-to-air partnership still to be concluded”.

In addition to the broadcasts, Vivendi Group Major’s chief executive Maxime Saada said the company would develop transverse partnerships with Formula 1 in digital, gaming, music and entertainment.

New broadcast deals have been a major focus for Liberty Media since it took over Formula One with the company's commercial chief, Sean Bratches, hinting that it will pursue more pay TV broadcast deals going forward.

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