Ligue 1 – TV rights: Canal + fixed on Friday on his divorce request
It is a Friday which promises to be decisive for the TV rights of Ligue 1. The decision of the commercial court of Nanterre on this contract signed in 2018 is important. It should remove the uncertainty over the resumption of L1, and bring some clarity to the imbroglio of TV rights. According to a source close to the Professional Football League (LFP), « it has been chaos for several weeks, we need to see it more clearly. Everyone has an interest« .
Since mid-June and the attribution of 80% of L1 matches to Amazon for 250 million euros, Canal +, which spends 332 million euros for only two matches per day, wants to withdraw from L1, judging this choice of the LFP as too much insult.
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Alliance falling apart
« It is unimaginable for any broadcaster to accept this situation. Paying 80 million more than another to have only 20% of the matches, it doesn’t make sense« , believes a source close to the two broadcasters wishing to remain anonymous. But things are not so simple: Canal + is linked with beIN Sports which sublicensed it in 2018 the two matches of lot 3 that the Qatari channel had obtained during the call for tenders. The two broadcasters had since sealed an alliance of reason, first against the Sino-Spanish group Mediapro which sank a few months later, but also « to weigh more heavily against the LFP« , decrypts an observer on condition of anonymity.
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But this alliance is breaking down. Because if Canal + no longer wants to hear about the L1, it remains bound by contract with beIN which must pay the bill to the LFP, and suddenly finds itself in spite of itself in the middle of the battle. After sending a letter to beIN Sports on July 13 explaining that it wanted to suspend its sub-license contract, Canal + at the same time refused to pay the first draft of nearly 500,000 euros for the contract with beIN. A first sprain that beIN did not let pass by assigning Canal + two days later in summary before the commercial court of Nanterre.
« Yet they agree that the price of Lot 3 is no longer sustainable, but disagree on how to fight« Says the source close to the two broadcasters. The hearing held on Tuesday did not give rise to any surprise on the positions of the two former allies. A clause exists in the contract between the two channels »forcing beIN to initiate proceedings if Canal asks it« , assures a source close to the sports mysteries. It is on this aspect that Canal relied on to suspend its contract, considering that the Qatari channel, of which the boss Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is also a member of the office of the LFP, n ‘had not accompanied the encrypted channel in its efforts to try to put lot 3 back into play during the last call for tenders.
« Conflict of interest »
Canal +, in an attempt to force the LFP to put lot 3 back into play, has indeed twice taken legal action. The chain was rejected each time, by the commercial court and the Competition Authority. « beIN has a complicated position due to the place of its boss, there is still a strong suspicion of conflict of interest in this story« , believes a source close to the matter.
If justice proves beIN right and obliges Canal + to respect its contract and to pay on August 5 a deadline of nearly 55 million euros, it does not seem certain that this signals the end of hostilities. « This will not change anything in substance, the economic distortion created by the attribution of matches to Amazon will not be able to last« , estimates the source close to the file.
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