France: Ligue 1 rights partial re-tender
January 20, 2021
From Pascale Paoli-Lebailly in Paris
French professional football league LFP has partially agreed to Canal+’s request that there be a fresh bidding round for 2020-2024 rights and has initiated a tender process covering 80 per cent of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 matches, following the cancellation of Mediapro’s deal in December 2020.
This excludes the batch acquired by beIN Sports and partially sublicensed to Canal+ for €330 million.
Candidates, including Canal+, will be able to submit bids until February 1st, in two separate two processes, one for Ligue 1, another for Ligue 2.
This new tender has been set up urgently as French football clubs are currently facing a financial crisis after losing several million euros a year, compared to the record €1.2 billion contract it signed in 2018 after the initial tender process, which included Mediapro’s €800 million deal. A ten-day delay granted to potential offerings by the LFP hopes to avoid a match coverage blackout.
The Téléfoot pay-TV channel is set to stop by the end of January, eight months after being launched, but Mediapro has suggested it could extend its life. Other networks such as TF1, M6 and France Télévisions have also offered their services for a limited period.
Observers are once more focusing on Canal+, which initially wanted to return the TV rights sub-licensed from beIN Sports and still could mount a judicial challenge to the LFP’s recent decision . The pay-TV channel has, however, publicly confirmed its interest into securing French football TV rights.