French Ligue 1 increases Asian TV audience

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Indy Lifestyle Online

While the English Premier League's fortunes falter, both on and off the pitch, the French Ligue 1 administration has been busy increasing its own overseas success by raising the number of Asian countries covered by TV deals for the upcoming 2010/11 season, complementing the European successes of their top teams.

Those extra appointments mean that the LFP can now be seen by viewers in Hong Kong and more football fans in Vietnam, as well as those in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand, bringing the total number of worldwide broadcasters to 81 across 150 territories.

A recent agreement with Now TV brings top flight French football to 1 million of Hong Kong's 7 million citizens.

In Vietnam, where Canal Overseas' K+ channel already carries FPL matches, a deal was struck with pay TV channel VCTV allowing their 300,000 subscribers to see up to three live matches a day as well as magazine shows prepared by Canal+ and the LFP.

European teams have been courting Asian audiences for a number of years with regular pre-season tours to the region.

Even European football's governing body took notice in 2007, with a decision to move the 2010 Champions League Final to a Saturday, no doubt motivated in part by the knowledge that mid-week finals were pushing Asian viewers dangerously close to workplace repercussions due to time zone differences.

Ligue 1 also drew attention to the quality of its football on the night of Wednesday, April 7 with an all-French Champions League quarter-final between Lyon and Bordeaux.

Olympic Lyonnais edged past their rivals to set up a semi-final with German side Bayern Munich, who themselves had just knocked out England's last remaining team in the competition, the world-famous and formidable Manchester United.

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