February 10, 2021

Deal agreed until the end of the season after Téléfoot’s exit.

After the spectacular collapse of their broadcast deal with Mediapro, French football’s governing body LFP (Ligue de Football Professionnel) hoped to reach some sort of arrangement with previous partner Canal+, but the premium television channel not only initially refused to return but also decided to hand back the broadcasting rights for showing two Ligue 1 matches a week which it sublicensed from beIN Sports in a €330 million deal. The LFP decided to offer the broadcast package around and received bids from three parties – Amazon, DAZN, and Discovery – but none of them managed to match their expected price, which only strengthened Canal+’s position who claimed that the deal was already overpriced and was now further devalued after the Mediapro debacle.

Up until now, Téléfoot – the subscription service launched by Mediapro specifically for French football – was showing the matches despite reneging on its four-year contract just after four months and agreeing an exit fee of €100 million. This service however will now be shut down, and remaining matches will return to Canal+ who have reached a temporary agreement with the LFP to broadcast all Ligue 1 matches and eight out if ten weekly Ligue 2 matches at an additional payment of €35 million over their existing €330 million deal.

Combined with the money already paid by Mediapro, this new temporary agreement will see LFP rake in €670 million in total this season for the broadcast rights of its top two football tiers; just over half of the expected €1.172bn amount and even lesser than the €726.5 million that was annually paid by Canal+ between 2016 and 2020.

The Mediapro disaster is something LFP would already need some time to get over, let alone in the time of a global pandemic. Most of the French clubs – especially the bigger ones – are having to make difficult decisions to get by. While the LFP have made sure that their football has a home at least for this season, it will be interesting to see what kind of deal gets made next season onwards, and with whom. Still, French clubs will have to lose their players on the cheap and hope for this nightmare to be over as quickly as possible.

Written By
Anshuman Joshi

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