Official | Canal+ not to bid for Ligue 1’s domestic broadcasting rights

French broadcaster Canal+ have opted against bidding for the domestic broadcasting rights for the next five Ligue 1 seasons, from 2024 to 2029. For the first time in their history, Canal+ won’t be on the start line in the race to broadcast the French top flight. Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) are expecting close to €800m in broadcasting rights per year starting from next season. Given the legal contentions between Ligue 1’s historical broadcaster and LFP, Canal+’s refusal to commit to the upcoming call to bids is hardly surprising.

Since the withdrawal of Spanish broadcaster Mediapro in 2020 due to financial difficulties resulting from the pandemic, Canal+ and the LFP have engaged in a legal battle. The French broadcaster believes that the LFP is guilty of abuse of market domination. Canal+ pays €332m per year to show only two games per week while retail mammoth Amazon have acquired Mediapro’s €780m annual package of eight games per week for a cut-price €250m. In short, Amazon pays less than Canal+ to broadcast more games. “A financial discrimination” and “a mathematical aberration” according to Canal+ CEO Maxime Saada.

“Amazon was systematically privileged”

In an official press release revealed by L’Equipe and sent to LFP president Vincent Labrune, Saada wrote that Canal+ “keeps being penalized in the exploitation of their rights” by the League. Saada adds that the LFP “gave the feeling to their teams that Amazon was systematically privileged.” Saada also mentions that the LFP rejected Canal+’s proposal to broadcast part of Ligue 1 games through the DAZN network, with which they just signed a broadcasting deal. Saada also laments the timing and the conditions in which the latest media rights tender has been set up by the LFP.

Given the lack of compensation for the damage suffered by Canal+ and the total absence of transparency regarding the process of awarding rights, it therefore clearly appears that the conditions are not currently met for the Canal+ Group to submit an offer”, Saada wrote.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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