French football

French football bosses consider what price to sell off TV rights for top two leagues

French clubs are suffering the financial consequences of matches played without fans and the collapse of a multibillion euro TV rights deal.
French clubs are suffering the financial consequences of matches played without fans and the collapse of a multibillion euro TV rights deal. FRANCK FIFE AFP/File
2 min

French football chiefs are weighing up out how far to drop the price for the contract to broadcast blockbuster games such as Marseille v Paris Saint-Germain and the rest of the programme in the top two divisions.

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The Ligue de Football Professionnel  (LFP) - which organises fixtures in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 - has been seeking a new deal with TV stations since a three billion euro contract with Mediapro was annulled at the end of last year.

The Spanish company - backed by a Chinese investment fund - signed a 780 million euro a year accord with the LFP to show matches from the start of the 2020/21 season until 2024.

But after missed payments last autumn, Mediapro said it wanted to rework the contract due to losses suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

The LFP initially objected to any changes but eventually settled its differences in court in December.

Failure

On Monday, the LFP formally offered up the TV rights. However, traditional broadcasters such as beIN Sport and Canal+ did not make a bid.

And potentially new operators such as Amazon, DAZN and Discovery also handed in proposals deemed below par.

“As the reserve prices have not been reached the consultations are declared unsuccessful,” said the LFP. “We are giving ourselves 48 hours to define the next steps in the marketing of the rights.

The rebuff from old powerhouses as well as brinkmanship from new players has increased the pressure on the LFP who have come under fire for agreeing the deal with Mediapro in 2018.

Discovery owns the France-based pan-European television network Eurosport, while Amazon is a growing presence on the football broadcasting scene in Europe.

It shows live football in Germany and has rights for some Premier League matches in England and can broadcast Champions League games in Italy.

Last week it emerged that Ligue 1 clubs were likely to suffer combined losses of more than 1.3 billion euros this season due to games being played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic as well as the collapse of the Mediapro deal which accounted for 80 percent of all the TV rights.

Canal+ held the rest of the rights.

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