LIVESTREAM French Championship: Marseille Blue Stars @ Thonon Black Panthers, July 1, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm EDT)

The battle for the 27th Casque de Diamant (Diamond Helmet) will take place on Saturday night as the Thonon Black Panthers host the Marseille Blue Stars to determine who will be named champions of France in 2023.

The Black Panthers were dominant throughout the regular season, as they had the best record of any team at 9-0-1.  With the top scoring offense in the league and a sturdy defense, they have been tough for any team to compete with.  In their semifinal matchup two weeks ago (after earning a first round bye), they faced the Tours Pionniers, a conference rival that the Black Panthers easily defeated twice in the regular season.  The Pionniers put up a good fight, but Thonon emerged with a 21-14 victory and punched their ticket to the championship game.  This is their fifth straight appearance in the championship game, and ninth in the last 10 battles for the French title.

Watch the game live. Marseilles Blue Stars vs Thonon Black Panthers, July 1, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm EDT).

On the other side, this will be the first ever appearance in the championship game for the Marseille Blue Stars, so the team has already made history this season.  Whereas the Black Panthers are known for their high-flying offense, the Blue Stars are known for their stout defense, as they allowed the fewest points in the league this season.  As the best team in Conference B, they also earned a first round bye in these playoffs.  In their semifinal matchup, they faced the La Courneuve Flash, the team that won three of the last four championship games, including last year’s.  Marseille stormed out to a 21-7 lead at halftime, and after the visitors cut the lead to 21-20, the Blue Stars recovered a botched punt attempt in the end zone for a touchdown to extend their lead.  The home team would not let the visitors score again, and the final score came to be 27-20.

Over the last two seasons, it has been clear that the Black Panthers, Blue Stars, and Flash have been the three best teams in the league.  The Flash and Black Panthers faced each other in the championship game last season, which the Flash won 16-10.  Furthermore, the Flash and Black Panthers even met in the Central European Football League championship game just last weekend, which the Flash won 26-21.

However, Marseille’s victory over the Flash ensured that we would not see yet another matchup between Thonon and La Courneuve on a big stage, and that there will be a new champion this season.  For the Black Panthers, this is a chance to shake off last week’s defeat and become champions of France on their home turf, while the Blue Stars are looking to make history and claim the championship for the first time in franchise history.  This game should be a close, hard-fought contest that should go down to the wire.

Watch the game live. Marseille Blue Stars vs Thonon Black Panthers, July 1, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm EDT).

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.