Losses and profits. This is called going to Canossa. In 1077, the Germanic king Henry IV wanted to dismiss the all-powerful Pope Gregory VII, who, in return, excommunicated him, setting the princes against the king. To obtain the prelate’s pardon, the future emperor had to wait three days in a bure robe, his feet in the snow, before the gates of the Italian city opened. The Professional Football League (LFP) also wanted to get rid of the hegemony of Pope Canal +. In 2018, it sold its 2020-2024 broadcast rights to Spanish Mediapro and beIN Sports for more than one billion euros per year, 60% more than in the previous period. Mortified, Canal had to buy back from beIN Sports the two games it had won.
But in October 2020, Mediapro fell, victim of the health crisis and its excessiveness. Unable to pay the planned 830 million euros annually, the group returns its rights to the League through penalties. And here is the French football which must put on the dress of bure to try to convince Canal + to buy them back. It’s urgent. The broadcast stops on January 31 and the clubs are in a catastrophic financial situation, weaned from their main resource. So Canal is playing the clock. His boss, Maxime Saada, even pushes the envelope further. In an interview with Figaro, Wednesday, January 13, he announced that he also wanted to surrender his rights and asked for a new call for tenders – which would take months, would ruin the current season and a number of fragile clubs.
Deadly inflation of wages and rights
He gives three reasons. First, self-esteem. The company has been mistreated, even humiliated, and trust is broken. Then, the legal risk. A purchase by mutual agreement could be attacked by a possible competitor because it is contrary to the sports code. Finally, and this is the strongest argument, the Football League is not worth 1.16 billion euros. It has become obvious, since there is no longer a buyer at this price. For more than ten years, all experts have criticized the deadly inflation of wages and rights in professional football. As Maxime Saada underlines, the economic model of this broadcasting has never found its profitability in France and each competitor of Canal has bitten the dust: TPS, disappeared in 2008, then Orange Sport, beIN Sports, Mediapro … Even Canal ensures it does not no longer finding one’s way around and being able to live very well without this offer, which at one time brought half of its subscribers.
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