Mediapro cuts LFP ties with €100m pay-off and closes Teléfoot channel

December 14 – The Professional Football League (LFP) and Mediapro have reached an agreement to part ways with the Spanish agency paying €100 million in compensation. 

In a statement, Mediapro wrote that together with the LFP it “defined the terms of an agreement which would lead to the return of the broadcasting rights for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches to the Ligue de Football Professionnel in the near future.”

Mediapro will pay €100 million in compensation for breaching the terms of the contract with an agreement that no further legal action will be taken by the LFP. French sports daily L’Equipe also reported that Teléfoot, Mediapro’s new channel broadcasting French football, would be shuttered with 160 employees losing their jobs.

In 2018, Mediapro and LFP had struck a record TV rights deal worth more than €800 million a season across Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 with French clubs budgeting those broadcast revenues for the 2020-21 season, but as the new campaign progressed there were worrying signs that Mediapro weren’t fulfilling their contractual obligations. The Spanish media agency, with Chinese backing as well, failed to pay their rights fee installments of €172.3 million and €152.5 million which were due on October 5 and December 5.

Mediapro paid a first installment of €172.3 million in August, but later demanded to renegotiate the rights fee for the current season because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In October, the league had already served the Spanish media rights agency a formal notice. “We have enforced our contract with Mediapro and have given them formal notice to pay the instalments of Oct. 1 and 5, while activating the guarantee given by the parent company of the Mediapro group,” LFP’s executive general director Arnaud Rouger told French sports daily L’Equipe at the time. “There are then two possibilities, either a favourable outcome is found with Mediapro, or it is not the case, and we will have to consider a takeover of the contract by other operators.”

The situation left French football strapped for cash forcing the LFP into a €120 million bank loan to cover the parachute payments to the clubs. This was in addition to the €224 million the league had already borrowed from the French government last spring to help clubs handle the economic consequences of the pandemic. French football was one of the few leagues to cancel the reminder of the 2019-20 season after the global health crisis in March forced football to shutdown. The government has however said that it will not bail out the LFP over the current rights situation.

The LFP is believed to eye Canal+ as a potential new broadcast partner. In the past, Canal+ was Ligue 1’s main broadcaster and currently the channel has a rights package worth €330 million per season.

Contact the writer if this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1634927619labto1634927619ofdlr1634927619owedi1634927619sni@o1634927619fni1634927619