Mediapro seeks rights fee rebate on €172m demanded by LFP

October 22 – Spanish media rights agency Mediapro is seeking a negotiated solution with the LFP after the French league issued a €172 million demand for unpaid rights fees. 

“No one could have predicted the social and economic effects of Covid-19,” said Mediapro CEO Jaume Roures (pictured). “This has led to us seeing with the LFP how we can adapt to the situation, without calling into question the commitment we made in April 2018. The contract is here to stay, that’s what we want. The only thing we ask is that we adapt things for this season.”

Last week,  the LFP formally demanded that Mediapro pay €172 million due as part of its Ligue 1 broadcast deal. The notice was the clearest indication yet that the league is prepared to rip up its contract with Mediapro and perhaps turn to Canal+ or beINSports for a new deal.

The Spanish agency, majority-owned by Chinese private equity fund Orient Hontai, and the LFP entered a record deal this year with Mediapro paying €800 million per year for the domestic TV rights for the top two divisions.

But Roures on Wednesday maintained that a renegotiation should be considered because of the coronavirus pandemic that has affected Mediapro’s operations. “Things cannot continue like before,” said Roures. “We are also victims of this situation.”

In August, Mediapro established a new channel, Telefoot, to broadcast French league games as well as Champions League and Europa League matches.

Broadcast income accounts for about 36% of revenue for French clubs and without the TV payment, clubs could struggle to fulfil primary obligations in the near future. The 2019/2020 Ligue 1 was cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis and clubs are struggling this season because of a lack of matchday revenue. The LFP has already taken out a state-guaranteed loan of €224.5 million to mitigate the financial fall out.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1637978234labto1637978234ofdlr1637978234owedi1637978234sni@o1637978234fni1637978234