The TV rights series of Ligue 1, in search of a sustainable broadcaster after the Mediapro fiasco, may be coming to an end: a decision by the Competition Authority on Friday could accelerate an agreement with Canal + and beIN, according to sources close to the negotiations cited by AFP.
With its decision expected on Friday, the Competition Authority could cause the acceleration of an agreement between the Canal + channels and beIN Sports for the TV rights of Ligue 1. It is AFP who announced this Thursday, citing sources close to the negotiations.
The encrypted channel, which had bought the remaining rights to the end of the Ligue 1 season at a reduced price after the withdrawal of Mediapro, is very likely on the way to winning its bet. The urgency in which L1 finds itself, without a broadcaster within two months of the resumption of the 2021-2022 season in early August, with clubs having to present a budget consistent with their television revenues on June 14 in front of the National Control Directorate management (DNCG), leaves little room for maneuver for French football. Especially since the latter is little helped by a disaster market and the reluctance of other potential broadcasters.
“Canal has been negotiating with the Professional Football League (LFP) and with beIN for months, and clubs from elsewhere are asking. They realize that a priori there really is no other choice than to resign with them “, explains a source close to the negotiations.
“The only possible timing”
An important obstacle should be lifted on Friday by the Competition Authority, seized by Canal + which accused the LFP of “an abuse of a dominant position” in its mode of reallocation of rights abandoned by Mediapro. This decision, expected Friday morning, should “clear the legal horizon”, according to another source close to the negotiations, and accelerate an agreement, probably during the day Friday. “This is the only possible timing,” assured this source.
Wednesday evening, Maxime Saada, chairman of the board of Canal + tried in the After Foot on RMC to breathe suspense into a negotiation which seems devoid of it. “I am not sure” that the L1 “will be on Canal + next year,” he said, listing all the operators who have come to compete with the encrypted channel in recent years.
The best posters on Canal, the rest on beIN?
Canal +, which has already obtained part of what it wanted with the reduction of the L1 to 18 clubs by 2023 (supposed to offer a tighter elite and better posters), only wants the best matches of the L1, and seems having convinced beIN to join forces so that the Qatari channel broadcasts the rest.
“If we manage to set up a device with Canal and beIN, we would broadcast the entire Ligue 1 experience”, has also promised Maxime Saada. The hypothesis of an ad hoc channel launched by the League to accompany Canal +, presented in May to the board of directors of the LFP, “does not hold the cord”, according to one of the sources close to the negotiations.
650 million euros
As for the price, the LFP should expect to find a lifestyle far from the 1.1 billion euros per season that the Sino-Spanish group had dangled. “I think the contract signed with Mediapro was a mistake, because the amounts were decorrelated from a reality,” French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday in an interview on The Indian Paper and RMC. “I wish that there could be an exit from the top of this subject, that (the clubs) can find viable figures for everyone”, he argued, symbol of the recurring interest of power policy in recent decades for this thorny issue.
The final amount of the new contract will in any case be significantly lower: “We will not be very far from previous cycles,” promised Maxime Saada on RMC. “The average has been 650 million euros per year since 2005.”