Orange, DailyMotion bid for French soccer rights

PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - Mobile operator Orange FTE.PA and video sharing site DailyMotion are among the nine companies that submitted bids in a tender for the rights to broadcast France's top-flight soccer matches over the next four seasons, French media reported on Wednesday.

According to daily newspaper Les Echos, Orange bid for all of the 12 packages on offer. Orange could not be immediately reached for comment.

Pay-TV company Canal Plus VIV.PA submitted bids for 10 of the 12 lots on offer, while mobile operator SFR, also part of the Vivendi group, bid for the mobile and video-on-demand packages, the Web site of French sports daily L'Equipe said.

Canal Plus and SFR could not be immediately reached for comment.

Newspaper Le Figaro, citing DailyMotion’s head of content, Martin Rogard, said the group bid for the magazine and video-on- demand packages.

Other bidders are reported to include French private channels TF1 TFFP.PA and M6 MMTP.PA, state-owned television France Televisions and DTT channel Direct8, which belongs to French financier Vincent Bollore.

The auction, held by France’s professional football league, closes on Jan. 31.

In November, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) began seeking bids for the rights to the seasons between 2008 and 2012, breaking the rights into 12 packages instead of the four used in the previous auction.

It announced a complex new structure that includes three premium packages for prime-time games as well as three “fan” packages comprising the rights to the games of specific clubs. There is also a mobile phone package.

The league was seeking to attract a large number of bidders so that it can at least match the 600 million euros ($882 million) a year it currently receives from Canal Plus for the exclusive rights to three seasons from 2005 to 2008.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Erica Billingham