“The Professional Football League has surrendered hand and foot for a piece of cake to Amazon”

Tribune. The Professional Football League (LFP) has chosen to entrust 80% of the broadcasts of matches in Leagues 1 and 2 to the American giant Amazon. For 259 million euros per year, the LFP sold off the distribution of its flagship product for the next three years, while freezing in stone the historic lot 3 awarded in 2018 to BeIN Sports for 332 million euros per year. This lot 3, which had then “bought” Canal + (under a sub-license contract), contains the broadcast of the remaining 20% ​​of Ligue 1, without the flagship match on Sunday evening. Its price seems extravagant today, which pushes Canal + to announce its withdrawal from the broadcasting of Ligue 1. The BeIN Sports channel seems to be in solidarity with Canal + in this showdown, since it has not honored the first payment (relating to the rights of Ligue 2) for the 2021-2022 season. The foundations of a violent dispute with the LFP are laid.

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Without predicting the outcome of this new soap opera, it is appropriate to consider the choice made by the LFP to favor the Amazon option (and to engage in a ruthless showdown with the historic broadcaster), with regard to the alternative solution which consisted in consolidating Canal + and BeIN for an almost identical overall amount.

We would be tempted to use the formula lent to Winston Churchill (to Neville Chamberlain) at the end of the Munich agreements: ” You had to choose between war and dishonor; you have chosen dishonor and you will have war. »

Blissful prisoner

If the League had sold its broadcasting rights to Amazon for a sum comparable to that promised by the former broadcaster MediaPro (800 million euros per year), the entry into the war of Vincent Labrune, president of the LFP, would have been understandable. . For conventional television channels, projecting themselves into the “next world” by linking up with Amazon represents a significant risk in terms of sovereignty and product development. But high remuneration would have brought the clubs a welcome financial security, at the time of recovering from the double MediaPro-Covid-19 earthquake. Far from that, the LFP does not provide any serious financial guarantee to the clubs, while bringing the wolf into the fold.

Read the analysis: After Mediapro fiasco, French football clubs realize they’re sitting on a pile of sand, not gold

For the juggernaut of online commerce, sports broadcasting rights are a kind of fly-by-night: it is about attracting customers and their data to make them captive in the Amazon environment. Even without increasing the price of the subscription to Amazon Prime (49 euros per year), the rights of Ligue 1 to 259 million euros are a very profitable investment for the firm of Jeff Bezos: once integrated into the ecosystem Amazon (free and faster deliveries, advantages to the purchase), the consumer becomes a blissful prisoner. The dissemination of Ligue 1 will lead hundreds of thousands of consumers, who were not yet convinced of the merits of entering this ecosystem, to take the plunge.

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