The TV rights of French professional football have been officially on the market since Wednesday, January 20. Through this consultation, the Professional Football League (LFP) is awaiting offers at the 1er February for the purchase of matches abandoned by its now ex-broadcaster Mediapro.
→ CONTEXT. Football: TV rights, the League terminates the contract with Mediapro
The epilogue is approaching for French football and its clubs, in great financial difficulty because of the health crisis and that of TV rights. After terminating in December the contract binding it to the Sino-Spanish group Mediapro, unable to honor its promise of a windfall exceeding 800 million euros per year, the League has resolved to publicly appeal to others broadcasters, via two procedures, one for Ligue 1 and the other for Ligue 2.
A period of ten days
Interested operators, Canal + in the lead, therefore now have only ten days to put together a quantified offer on the lots of meetings involved, which run from February 5, 2021 until the end of the planned cycle, i.e. until ‘to June 2024. The lots are close to those of the initial call for tenders of 2018, with in particular a “premium” lot composed of the Sunday evening posters, including the ten best of the season.
These four prizes for Ligue 1 and two prizes for Ligue 2 correspond only to the matches initially obtained by Mediapro, i.e. 80% of the matches of the two championships. Contrary to the wishes of the encrypted channel, they do not include the famous “lot n ° 3”, currently broadcast by Canal + for 330 million euros annually and composed of 20% of Ligue 1 matches, including the poster. Saturday evening (9 p.m.).
What position for Canal +?
The boss of the Vivendi group’s channel, Maxime Saada, had in fact positioned himself last week in favor of a real global call for tenders, and not of a consultation of this type, announcing in the columns of Figaro that ‘he counted “Return” its share of meetings, which Canal + broadcasts via a sub-license agreement signed with its partner BeIN Sports.
→ READ. Football: Canal + wants a call for tenders for TV rights
But the League has a different analysis and does not intend to put these matches in competition, which raises fears of a Canal + challenge in court and new legal battles in the coming weeks. Under these conditions, will Canal + be inclined to apply during this consultation? To date, it is the only one to have publicly expressed its interest in buying the TV rights to French football, even if other operators are sometimes cited by some observers.