Football TV rights: towards a new call for tenders

Posted on Jan 14, 2021 9:29 PM

Candidates for the broadcasting of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches can prepare. The board of directors of the Professional Football League (LFP) would have validated Thursday the principle of a call for tenders for the vacant TV rights of the French Championships, according to two sources with knowledge of the file.

The League wants to put back on the market only the lots abandoned by Mediapro, the defective broadcaster of 80% of matches in the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 championships, according to these sources. Canal +, approached for the resumption of TV rights, has on the contrary already asked that this call for tenders be global, including the two matches per day of Ligue 1 that it is currently broadcasting and that it wishes to return.

Legal interpretation

Canal + boss Maxime Saada has indeed announced in an interview with “Figaro” Tuesday that the encrypted channel intended to return lot number 3 that it broadcasts, comprising 20% ​​of Ligue 1 for an amount of 330 million euros per year, before making new offers on the various lots.

But the League has a different legal interpretation on this file, considering that it can only put in competition the matches abandoned by the Mediapro group, which had initially promised more than 800 million euros per year before showing itself unable to pay its bills in October.

In addition, Canal + only broadcasts its two matches per day via a sub-license agreement signed with the beIN Sports channel, which is itself under contract with the LFP.

The precise timetable concerning this future call for tenders was not specified by these sources having knowledge of the file, one of them putting forward the hypothesis of an accelerated procedure, of only ten days, against 6 to 8 weeks usually.

The clubs at bay

Time is running out for the clubs, recipients of this televisual windfall: after January 31, the broadcasting of Mediapro matches is not guaranteed. Indeed, the withdrawal agreement signed by the LFP and Mediapro provides that Téléfoot, the channel of the Sino-Spanish group, will continue broadcasting until January 31 at the latest.

As for the matches broadcast by Canal +, their payments were settled until February 5, giving rise to fears of a suspension of payments on that date if Canal + goes to the end of its analysis.

The clubs, already deprived of ticketing revenue by the health crisis, would then face even more drastic losses, while they have, in parallel, launched negotiations to lower the salaries of the players.

Source AFP

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