Back in December, Ligue 1’s TV deal with MediaPro collapsed. MediaPro was supposed to pay nearly $1 billion US per year for the rights, but only ended up paying $208 million before missing payments in October and November. That led to Ligue 1 getting their rights back and cutting a deal with Canal+ for the rest of the season for just an extra $42 million (along with the $395 million that Canal+ was already paying). Overall, Ligue 1 got just over $800 million domestically for their TV rights in the 2020-21 season when they expected close to $1.4 billion.
Enter Amazon. On Friday, Ligue 1 announced that Amazon had acquired the league’s domestic TV rights, paying an estimated €250 million (roughly $300 million US) per season in a three year deal for 302 matches each season (eight per week, with the other two going to Canal+).
And then Canal+ released a statement, refusing to air Ligue 1 matches this season and saying that Amazon’s deal was “detrimental” to the league’s historical partners: Canal+ and beIN Sports.
CANAL+ se retire de la Ligue 1
— CANAL+ Group (@canalplusgroupe) June 11, 2021
So….that’s all going well for French football. The syndicated writeup on World Soccer Talk does a great job breaking down the whole mess. There’s clearly going to be more fallout from this decision, because there’s no way Ligue 1 is going to let 80 matches per season (with many of those being “first picks”) sit in limbo, and I doubt the issues brought up by Canal+ will be resolved soon.
None of this will affect American viewers, however. Stateside, Ligue 1’s rights remain with beIN through the 2023-24 season. Those rights are one of the last dominoes still standing for the network following the departures of both Serie A and La Liga to ESPN+ (though the top-flight Italian league will air on Paramount+ starting with the 2021-22 season).