Bids for French top-flight Ligue 1 from Amazon, DAZN and Discovery have all fallen short, prompting a broadcast rights crisis for the league.
The Professional Football League (LFP) haven’t been able to reach an agreement with any bidders as all offers by the three media companies were rejected.
L’Equipe reports that Mediapro’s editorial director for the Téléfoot network, Jean-Michel Roussier, also made an offer on his own companies behalf.
So far, no candidate has been able to match a publicly undisclosed asking price for LFP, not helped by the notable absence of bids from pay-TV broadcasters Canal+ and beIN Sports.
LFP has stated that it received offers from ‘three major international groups Amazon, Discovery and DAZN’ for a contract that includes second-tier Ligue 2 rights.
The LFP will give itself 48 hours to consider the next steps in the process, which would likely be entering private negotiations.
Téléfoot’s temporary arrangement, a network set up by Mediapro to showcase French league coverage, has just expired.
The top two French leagues had previously been left without a domestic broadcast partner when a record deal collapsed with Spanish-based agency Mediapro, worth €814 million (1.3 billion AUD) a year until the end of the 2023/24 season. A contract termination occurred in December as Mediapro were unable to meet payment deadlines – just four months into its first year.
Canal+ is paying €330 million (521 million AUD) a year to sublicence the remaining 20 per cent of games from BeIN Sports. The Vivendi-owned media company wanted to cancel that contract as part of the re-issue of the main broadcast partnership tender.
The LFP rejected that move and Canal+ launched a lawsuit against the league body, wanting to resell the rights rather than being stuck with the inflated prices of 2018. A court hearing is expected to take place on February 19th, as the broadcaster is also filing a complaint with France’s competition regulator about the LFP decision.
Last week it was revealed that French top-flight clubs were about to suffer catastrophic combined losses of over €1.3 billion (2 billion AUD) for this season alone due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a Mediapro deal breakdown.
At this stage, there is complete uncertainly if anyone is able to broadcast Ligue 1’s biggest match on the calendar between Marseille and PSG this weekend.