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Report: Ligue 1 rights could return to Canal+

LFP in talks with French pay-TV network amid Mediapro dispute.

20 November 2020 Tom Bassam

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  • Mediapro seeking to reduce 2020/21 Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 rights fee by 25%
  • Canal+ is unlikely to match Mediapro’s €814m a year terms

The Professional Football League (LFP) could turn to French pay-TV broadcast giant Canal+ if Mediapro’s Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 domestic broadcast partnerships collapse over a pay dispute, according to RMC Sport.

The Spanish-based media agency has failed to pay the second €172 million (US$202 million) instalment of its €814 million (US$951 million) per season rights deal for top-flight Ligue 1 and second-tier Ligue 2 rights. That payment was due at the start of October and its next is scheduled for 5th December.

The LFP had to take out a bank loan to cover the payments to its clubs and has referred the matter to the Parisian commercial court. Mediapro, for its part, has reiterated its commitment to the four-year contract, saying it wants to renegotiate the terms for this season because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mediapro is asking the LFP for a 25 per cent reduction in its rights bill for the 2020/21 season, but has reportedly offered to extend the contract by two more seasons as a sign of its commitment to Ligue 1.

According to L'Equipe, Mediapro's offer to the LFP is to reduce its fee by between €170 million (US$201 million) and €200 million (US$237 million) for this season whilst extending the contract until the end of the 2024/25 campaign for the annual sum of €814 million (US$951 million), thus guaranteeing the LFP some added financial security.

Marc Senechal, Mediapro’s legal representative, must submit an interim report to the commercial court of Nanterre in early December to protect his client’s rights contract.

According to RMC Sport, discussions between the LFP and Canal +, which was previously Ligue 1’s main broadcaster and now holds a smaller package of rights, have been taking place over several days in regard to partial or total takeover of Mediapro’s contracts.

The LFP would purportedly like an agreement with Canal+ to be made quickly, but are yet to agree a fee, whilst a speedy resolution also suits Mediapro.

Earlier this month Maxime Saada, president of Canal+, described Mediapro's rights deal as “untenable” and warned the LFP that the broadcaster would not ride in to the rescue. RMC reports that Canal+ considers that Ligue 1’s rights have been devalued this season and will not match the fee previously agreed with Mediapro.

Teléfoot, Mediapro’s new €25.90 (US$30) a month pay-TV offering, which also airs most live Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 games, as well as Uefa Champions League matches, was launched back in August.

Mediapro is targeting 3.5 million Teléfoot subscribers, but has thus far only brought in 600,000 paying customers.

The LFP could return Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 rights to Canal+

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