- BeIN currently pays reported €70m per year to market Ligue 1 rights overseas
- LFP looking to close gap with other elite European soccer leagues with new deal from 2024/25
French soccer’s Professional Football League (LFP) is targeting €200 million (US$218 million) per year in revenue from the international broadcast rights to the top-flight Ligue 1 during the next cycle.
The league’s current agreement with BeIN sees the Qatari media group pay a reported €70 million (US$76.3 million) annually to market Ligue 1 rights overseas. Any income earned over the guaranteed figure is then split between the LFP and BeIN.
The pair first agreed their partnership back in 2011 and the current deal expires at the end of the 2023/24 season.
As rights negotiations loom, LFP president Vincent Labrune has said Ligue 1 is looking for a substantial increase on its current BeIN pact.
“We think that we will be able to get close to around €200 million annually for the next cycle,” Labrune told L’Équipe. “This is the short-term goal.
“In this area, we have very low revenues compared to our European competitors. But our clubs are now becoming aware of these European issues. And we have a powerful argument: we have changed the distribution of international rights, which go 100 per cent to European clubs according to their performance
“Today, there are potential financial gains that are very important for clubs. For example, PSG, after having had a very average, will receive €33 million in international rights. And these are amounts that will be exponential in the years to come.”
Labrune emphasised the importance of French teams going far in the Uefa Champions League. Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain were knocked out of European soccer’s elite club competition in the round of 16 this season, but still benefited financially from the tournament.
“French clubs and their investors will quickly understand that being successful in the Champions League can provide resources greater than those of national rights,” said Labrune.
Ligue 1, as Labrune mentioned, currently lags behind many other elite European soccer leagues in terms of international broadcast rights income. For context, the Premier League is bringing in a reported UK£5.3 billion (US$6.6 billion) for the 2022 to 2025 cycle, equating to about UK£1.76 billion (US$2.21 billion) over three seasons.
Ligue 1 clubs have criticised the LFP’s pact with BeIN, claiming the arrangement undervalues the league’s international rights. The relationship was put under further strain when rights fee payments were delayed due to the cancellation of the 2019/20 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. That resulted in a compromise deal which reportedly saw BeIN pay €16.5 million (US$18 million) instead of the €35 million (US$38.1 million) owed.
It is unclear if the LFP will seek a new international rights partner, but expectations are high after it secured investment from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners last year, resulting in the creation of the LFP Media commercial subsidiary. Efforts are already underway to expand Ligue 1’s overseas presence, including in the US through a tie-up with sports marketing agency rEvolution.
Beefing up international broadcast revenues is another key part of the journey to making Ligue 1 a contender with the likes of the Premier League and LaLiga. It will also strengthen the LFP’s hand during negotiations for the 2028/32 cycle.