Catalans fear end of TV coverage as broadcast deal breaks down

The lights may go out on television coverage of Super League games in Perpignan next season, following the failure of talks to secure a new TV deal.

The recent decision by French channel beIN Sports to cease transmission of matches at the Stade Gilbert Brutus has prompted Catalans Dragons to seek new broadcast partners. But discussions with pay-tv company L’Equipe last week fell at the final hurdle.

“They refused at the last moment,” said Dragons President Bernard Guasch in Perpignan’s L’Indépendant newspaper.

“They surprised us by cutting off the discussions. We were ready to change the day and even the time of our fixtures to get back on TV.”

Sky Sports’ coverage of Catalans’ home games depends upon the participation of a French partner. Unless one is found it seems unlikely that supporters in the UK will be able to watch future fixtures live from the south of France.

The Dragons will continue to seek a new television contract, said President Guasch, adding: “We are looking for support and other solutions, we are not standing idly by, believe me.

“I have an appointment with a Sports Minister who is a delegate to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris and he has asked for exact accounts of all the negotiations we are carrying out.”

Meanwhile, the Dragons’ boss remains hopeful that beIN Sports may change their mind following reports that viewer subscriptions had fallen since the decision to cease Super League coverage.

“I don’t know whether beIN didn’t rush to announce their decision,” said Guasch.

“So why not talk to them again?”

In other news from Perpignan, Dragons centre David Mead has been declared fit and has been selected for Papua New Guinea for their forthcoming Test matches against Fiji and Great Britain on November 9th and 16th respectively.

Mead sustained a fractured eye socket during a match against Hull KR in August but has fully recovered and is now in training with the PNG squad.

And, even more importantly for the Dragons, their coach Steve McNamara has signed a new three-year contract with the club, meaning he will remain at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium until the end of the 2022 campaign.