Whether they like it or not, French people who don’t subscribe to beIN Sports are effectively boycotting 36 of the 64 FIFA World Cup matches in Qatar, which are broadcast exclusively on the pay-TV channel. Only a third of group matches and three quarters of final table matches are visible to everyone, in clear text, on TF1. A situation that gets worse from edition to edition – the 1998 World Cup was the last to be broadcast entirely unencrypted in France – while the volumes of TV rights on football explode.
Is France hell on earth for fans who are unwilling to pay season tickets? Challenges looked at the situation in other European countries, and of the 39 countries analysed, only 6 did not broadcast the entire competition unencrypted. Of these, France is the worst student, with less than half of matches broadcast free-to-air, behind Spain and its 44 matches reserved for Mediapro and Telefónica’s pay channels. Greece, Portugal, Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina round out the list of European countries combining free-to-air and pay-to-view broadcasting for the World Cup.