Posted on Nov 27, 2020 at 10:55 a.m.
The soap opera stretches out, becomes more complex and never ends. Mediapro, the main broadcaster of Ligue 1 football (80% of matches) via its Téléfoot channel, filed a summons with the Paris commercial court last week to ask Canal +, holder of the remaining 20%, for damages and interests, AFP believes.
The group accuses the encrypted channel of ” abuse of dominant position ” and of ” abusive and unfair practices »And considers that he has been harmed in the context of the negotiations following the call for tenders for Ligue 1 rights for the period 2020-2024. This was won by Mediapro for a historic record amount (780 million euros per season paid by the Catalan group for Ligue 1, out of a total of 1.153 billion per season).
While Mediapro has found distribution agreements with the four main French operators (Free, Bouygues, Orange, SFR), the group has never found common ground with Canal +. Mediapro claims that Vivendi’s channel made it an unacceptable offer in terms of exposure to its subscriber base in particular.
For its part, the encrypted channel has been speaking for weeks of a ” unequal treatment ” and of ” impossible conditions “And” unrealistic “. For this, Canal + has already taken Mediapro to court at the end of September with the commercial court of Nanterre.
The Téléfoot channel would have less than 500,000 subscribers
This conflict makes the ongoing conciliation process between Mediapro and the Professional Football League (LFP) all the more complex. This procedure was initiated by the Catalan group since October 19 in order to see the bill for this 2020-2021 season disrupted by the pandemic decrease.
The objective is now to reach a solution as soon as possible, while December 5, date of the next payment due (162 million euros) by Mediapro, is approaching. After having paid its first payment to the League in August, Mediapro indeed refused to pay the 172 million expected in October, forcing the LFP to borrow urgently to pay the very worried French clubs. A situation which threatens the entire economic balance of professional French football.
Today, Mediapro is very far from the volume of paying subscribers which is necessary for its profitability and which the group has estimated at 3.5 million people. Its Téléfoot channel would have only 480,000 customers, according to “L’Equipe”, while Mediapro claimed some… 600,000 a month ago, through the voice of its boss Jaume Roures.
In the event of termination of the contract, Canal + would be ready to make an offer to the LFP to recover Mediapro’s broadcasting rights over the period 2020-2024; the encrypted channel would be ready to offer a fixed sum of nearly 600 million euros per season, up to 700 million (a bonus linked to a certain increase in its subscriber volume), advance “The Team”. An amount very far from the amount initially promised by Mediapro.