It is an surprising twist that shakes the French worlds of soccer and tv. While for weeks everybody anticipated the Professional Football League (LFP) to award the rights to Ligue 1 and League 2 to the duo Canal + and BeIN Sports, Amazon got here into play at the final minute to overturn the desk. Unhappy with the distribution, the encrypted channel instantly introduced its withdrawal from the sport, thus giving a bit extra confusion to a ugly scenario.
Why is Canal + withdrawing?
Canal + is the huge loser of this new allocation. Historical broadcaster of Ligue 1, got here to the assist of French soccer final winter after the Mediapro fiasco, the encrypted channel had clearly displayed its intentions: to acquire the two most stunning posters of the day, in the packing containers of Saturday 5 p.m. and from Sunday 9 pm, and “offer” the relaxation of the matches to its associate BeIN Sports. Except that it is lastly Amazon which recovered the jackpot of Sunday night with the bonus of the exclusivity of 80% of Ligue 1, and this for “only” 250 million euros.
While Canal +, trapped in the contract signed at the time of Mediapro, can pay 330 million for 2 posters, these of Saturday 9 pm and that of Sunday 5 pm. An unacceptable consequence for Canal, which instantly introduced to withdraw from Ligue 1. “After the failure of the choice of Mediapro in 2018, Canal + regrets the decision of the Professional Football League to retain Amazon’s proposal today to the detriment of that of its historical partners ”, explains a press launch.
“There was a serious proposal for 600 million euros in total (Editor’s note: from Canal + and BeIN Sports), blows a frame of Canal. But there, faced with this decision, nobody will pay. We held out our hands and they turned their backs on us… The chapter is closed. We don’t expect much from these people. We are not going to pay these 332 million euros, we are not going to broadcast Ligue 1 and we are going to accelerate the substitution of the offer with the Top 14 in rugby, golf, Formula 1, motorcycles or even the Champions League. “
“They are furious, and this is not surprising, decrypts Pierre Maes, specialist in TV rights for sport. Canal has always wanted the return of the Sunday evening box, which includes the top ten picks of the season, and therefore necessarily the ten most beautiful posters. Close to 50 million, it is as if the LFP was making a real declaration of war. When you have had a dominant actor for so long in your own country, and you slap him in the face, you shouldn’t be surprised at his reaction… ”.
What can occur now?
Canal + pays a sub-license with BeIN Sports for this famous lot 3, ie an amount of 332 million euros per season until 2024. The Qatari channel then transfers the money to the LFP. If this contract was broken, BeIN Sports would then be called upon to contribute. For Pierre Maes, Canal + will try to “get rid of its lot” which has become cumbersome: “If its leaders succeed, a lot the higher. Otherwise, the LFP must discover a new purchaser, of course at a decrease sum! The threat is that, with out Canal or BeIN Sports, the matches is not going to be produced and subsequently not broadcast, although they continue to be of prime quality. “
To simplify things, the withdrawal of Canal + puts an unnamed mess in French football, which would lose its main creditor. But that would foreshadow a long legal battle. This Friday afternoon, few club presidents responded to our calls to discuss this more than worrying situation. “I choose to not say something, in any other case I’ll say bullshit,” explains one of them. “The withdrawal of Canal is a posture of communication”, answers another.
What is Amazon’s strategy?
This is a huge leap for the American distribution giant, which has been broadcasting Roland-Garros evenings on its channel since the start of the competition, after acquiring certain TV rights, such as the US Open in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, American football with NFL matches in the United States, football with the Premier League in the United Kingdom and the Champions League in Germany and Italy. His arrival in Ligue 1 certainly marks a real desire to appropriate a new audience.
“They are not hiding it: their goal is to attract new subscribers to their loyalty program (Prime), and that they stay there,” says Pierre Maes. Amazon is the big winner in this story. His strategy was, like the others, to have the best deal at the lowest price. With 250 million (Editor’s note: its biggest investment in sport in Europe) and as a bonus the Sunday night game, Amazon is the big winner in this story. We will remember that the richest in the world… is the one who pays the least! “
According to our data, after a primary try at the starting of the 12 months throughout the final name for tenders, Amazon got here again not too long ago, feeling that the negotiations between the League and Canal + weren’t transferring ahead. But with out growing its preliminary provide. “The contact had not been broken since the last call for tenders. The idea was rather to attract them for the next one in 2023, but it was done faster than expected, ”explains an govt from the LFP. On the Canal + aspect, nevertheless, we had felt the hazard coming. “We have always considered that it was never won, that the Amazon threat was real”, we guarantee Canal.
What shall be the penalties for subscribers?
This is the query they should be asking themselves proper now, particularly in the event that they like soccer. Will they need to pay further or will the quantity (49 euros per 12 months or 5.99 euros monthly) stay the similar? It is nonetheless an excessive amount of to say, whereas the withdrawal of Canal + has had the impact of a bomb and nonetheless leaves, technically, two posters per day with out broadcasters. “Today, there is much less competitors and Amazon, as opportunist, has taken benefit of the local weather of battle between the LFP and Canal +, underlines Pierre Maes. It’s laborious to know what the Americans are going to resolve. They may very nicely do as for Roland-Garros, by together with it of their value. I do not suppose they’ll make a specialty channel with an additional cost. “
PODCAST. TV rights of French football: the story of the Mediapro fiasco
On the Canal + side, we wonder about the repercussions. “There had already been an publicity error with Mediapro, which had favored piracy,” said an executive of the encrypted channel. But here, among French households, most cannot have access to Amazon because they receive television by TNT or satellite or when their box is too old. “