February 5 – France’s professional leagues have been handed a badly needed lifeline to help them over their broadcast rights crisis after Ligue 1 reached an agreement with Canal Plus to screen the remainder of matches this season following the spectacular collapse of a record contract with Mediapro.
The league was left without a domestic broadcast partner after the Mediapro deal – which had been expected to deliver €780 million per season for the four years to 2024 – was terminated in December.
As a result 80% of TV rights were put up for tender although none of the three candidates Amazon, DAZN and Discovery – met the asking price earlier this week.
Neither Canal+ nor beIN Sports submitted a bid but sources told AFP that a deal was struck when Canal Plus offered to pay an additional €35 million to broadcast the rest of the season, on top of its existing deal worth €330 million for the other 20% of the rights.
But according to the same sources, tv income for top-flight clubs will drop by 49% this season, and 40% in Ligue 2.
The latest agreement finally brings an end the saga of Mediapro’s acrimonious exit from the French game.
The Spanish agency and the league had sealed a deal worth more than €800 million a season, but Mediapro, which created a new channel Telefoot, missed scheduled payments of €172 million and €152.5 million before the contract was terminated.
Canal Plus used to show the majority of Ligue 1 matches on TV before it was usurped by the Spanish firm. However, the new pact only covers the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign, meaning the rights still need to be renegotiated for the following seasons.
Ironically, just as the deal was being struck, Sunday night’s high-profile Marseille v Paris Saint Germain fixture, was sold to Canal Plus on a one-off basis, to be broadcast on Telefoot.
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