Court tells Canal+ it can’t hide behind beIN Sports sub-license to avoid paying €330m

July 30 – The chaos around French league broadcast rights move on a stage yesterday with Canal+ being told by the President of the Nanterre Commercial Court that it had frozen Canal+’s right to terminate the €330 million broadcast contract they had sub-licensed from beIN Sports for live Ligue 1 games.

Last week beIN Sports were told by the court that Canal+ could only terminate the contract if beIN Sports didn’t sue the League. Canal+ were arguing the €330 million sub-license they had was too high considering that the League had sold 80% of the live rights to Amazon in a €250 million deal that distorted the market.

BeIN Sports subsequently filed a civil case in France and a competition case with the European Commission.

A BeIN Sports insider said that the “completely agree” with Canal+ and Free on what they all argue is the overall market distortion and abuse of dominant position by the LFP in awarding Amazon 80% of the rights for a fee that is €80 million less than 20% of the rights of the rights sub-licensed to Canal+.

Even so, beIN Sports say they should not have to pick up the bill for Canal+’s agreement.

The Nanterre court will rule on the merits of Canal’s attempted termination next week – though it looks as though will have no have no grounds with the court having already frozen the termination.

While beIN Sports were suing Canal+, at the same time the LFP is chasing the outstanding rights fee via a suit against both of them in a case before the President of the Civil Court of Paris that will be heard today (Friday).  Following the Nanterre ruling the League will have to change its case and sue Canal+ – which beIN Sports have been arguing is what they should have done from the start.

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