"No question of putting Canal + in the red by reinvesting at a loss in football," Maxime Saada, boss of the encrypted channel, told Les Echos newspaper, which appears in ambush in the conflict between Ligue 1 and Mediapro, bad broadcaster payer.
In 2018, Mediapro was awarded 80% of the rights to Ligue 1 for 780 million euros per year, greatly contributing to reaching a record level for TV rights for French football, which then exceeded one billion euros annually.
But the broadcaster did not pay the League its October draft (172 million euros on an annual contract of 814 million euros for L 1 and L 2) and placed itself under the protection of the Commercial court of Nanterre in the context of a conciliation procedure with the League (LFP).
“The arrival of Téléfoot
(Editor's note: the Mediapro channel)
practically did not make us lose subscribers during this return.
We are even recording, for the first time in a long time, a growth in our subscriber base in France ”, evacuated Maxime Saada in an interview with the daily economic, indicating to have“ reinvested a large part of the sums initially devoted to the call of 'Ligue 1 offers' initially lost, in particular by buying back a lot of matches from BeIN Sports.
"An untenable economic equation"
"There is always someone who thinks that he will be able to make better use of the rights than us by paying more than Canal", insists Maxime Saada, recalling the precedents of "TPS, then Orange, then BeIN Sports, then Altice, and finally Mediapro ”.
"I have always thought that the economic equation was untenable given the price paid for the rights", still assures the leader of the encrypted channel which sends, in passing, a message to the League in the event that it leaves its contract with Mediapro and would restart the auctions.
Ligue 1 TV rights: 5 minutes to understand the Mediapro "bomb"
Aware that the procedure to terminate the Mediapro contract could take time, not to mention the call for tenders that follows if it ever goes to the end, Vincent Labrune, the new president of the LFP, is seeking, for his part, solutions.
According to Le Canard Enchaîné, he asked Maxime Saada if a new distribution of TV rights interested him.
It would be an equitable sharing of Ligue 1 matches between Canal + and Mediapro, with a financial effort made on both sides (Canal adding to the pot to have more matches, and Mediapro paying a smaller amount for fewer matches ) in order to allow the League to finally recover deadlines to end the season without being in the red.
The boss of Canal, "very worried" for French football in the face of a situation which risks "damaging the image, the quality, and ultimately the value of Ligue 1", is much less so for his channel.
“The Champions League will come back to us next season with, for the first time, the two best posters of each day.
It will complement a rich sports offer […] This strategy is working ”.