As if there weren’t enough sources of celebrity gossips, Trace Sports, whose TV shows cover the private lives of stars from golf legend Tiger Woods to hoops wizard LeBron James, has its eyes on the U.S. even as it’s working on a new reality series where women compete to marry a European soccer player.
The Paris-based channel is already beamed into 30 million homes in 90 countries and soon TV watchers in the Land of the Free will satisfy their thirst for items on the hottest rugby players, athletes not yet married and what’s going on behind the scenes during the National Basketball Association’s trip to Milan.
The 18-month-old pay-TV channel, which aims to do for sports what E! Entertainment did for Hollywood, is part of a portfolio of channels owned by parent TRACE, which includes pop music station Trace Urban and Latin-inspired music channel Trace Tropical, where Shakira can be found shaking her hips.
In a TV market where competition for sports rights is soaring, and companies like BT Group, the U.K.’s former monopoly phone provider, are paying hundreds of millions of pounds to show English Premier League soccer matches, Trace Sports plays a complementary role, Laurent Dumeau, the CEO of Trace Sports, said at a gathering of European cable TV executives last week in London.
“With sports rights increasing so quickly, this is a way we can monetize them more rapidly,” said Dumeau, who’s also the former chief financial officer for NBC Universal in France.
Trace Sports has a deal with ESPN to send a production crew to the X Games in Tignes, France, this year for behind-the-scenes looks at nightlife, parties and how the stars are unwinding after a day of extreme sports.
Clearly, TMZ faces stiff competition.