Canal+ and BeIN Sports have once again had their requests rejected in the context of the conflict between them and the Professional Football League (LFP), concerning TV rights for Ligue 1, by decision of the Paris judicial court this Tuesday.
The two channels have been in conflict with the LFP since the allocation of L1 TV rights to Prime Video, the Amazon channel, in 2021, after the Mediapro fiasco, which acquired the main rights in 2018 for 784 million euros. euros per year before defaulting.
New victory for the League
After the Paris Court of Appeal and the competition authority, the judicial court in turn rejected Canal+ and BeIN “all their requests and ordered BeIN to fulfill all of its obligations”.
This is a new victory for the League, which has just entered a crucial period by putting its TV rights back into play for the period 2024-2029.
The two groups considered that the LFP had committed an “abuse of discrimination” by granting Prime Video the broadcast rights to 80% of the matches for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 seasons (previously held by Mediapro) for an amount of 250 million euros per season, while at the same time they were required to broadcast the matches of lot 3 (broadcast of two matches per day of L1), acquired in 2018 for 332 million euros per season.
A broken balance?
Initial winner of this lot 3 for the 2020-24 period, BeIN Sports had sublicensed its rights to Canal+ at the same price. According to BeIN, the allocation of rights to the Amazon channel “upset the balance of the license contract for lot N.3 and removed the reason for this contract,” we can read in the decision.
The court considers that BeIN bases its argument “on the economic impact that would be suffered by Canal+”, but “the inseparability of the contracts and the interdependence of the contract subscribed to by beIN Sports with those subscribed to by Mediapro cannot in any case result from the only decline in economic interest.” Consequently, “the condition of interdependence of the contract relating to lot 3 subscribed by beIN Sports with the contracts relating to lots 1 and 2 subscribed to by Mediapro is lacking”.
By interim order in August 2021, then by a judgment of the Versailles Court of Appeal, Canal+ had already been ordered to honor its sublicensing contract and therefore to pay for and broadcast the two matches per day. In July 2022, the Paris commercial court also dismissed Canal+ in its attempt to terminate its sublicensing contract with BeIN.