Chinese-owned Mediapro crashed French football’s television rights party in style Tuesday, snapping up the right to broadcast Ligue 1 matches domestically for the period 2020 to 2024 for 1.153 billion euros ($1.33 billion) annually, the French league (LFP) announced.
“It was a successful bidding process, with a significant increase of our TV rights,” said LFP president Nathalie Boy de la Tour, with the existing deal for 2016 to 2020 valued at 726.5 million euros.
“Sources close to the case said broadcasters who missed out during the tender process could strike sub-licencing deals with the majority rights holders in order to show matches.
Based in Spain but owned by the Chinese private equity fund Orient Hontai, Mediapro snapped up the leading packages put up for auction on Tuesday as longtime French football broadcaster Canal+ was left empty-handed.
“It’s a historic turning point,” said Didier Quillot, the French league’s chief executive.”We haven’t quite had time to crack open the Champagne, but we’re happy. It proves that our football is getting better, and broadcasters are starting to recognise that too.
“Our football is now more entertaining, we have a seven percent increase in attendances at stadiums and television audiences are up 25 %.”Sources close to the case said broadcasters who missed out during the tender process could strike sub-licencing deals with the majority rights holders in order to show matches.
Two lower-level packages of the seven total match bundles were not awarded after the reserve price wasn’t met, the LFP said, and will be put up for sale again before the end of the year.
“We launched a tender that some said was complicated, but in reality it was simply more sophisticated and pushed the prices higher during the auction,” added Quillot, in comments on RMC radio.
“We haven’t quite had time to crack open the Champagne, but we’re happy.
“We’ve always said that the Ligue 1 was undervalued.”It is now expected that Mediapro create a channel specifically for French football.
The new deal represents more than a 60 percent increase on the current one and brings the French league in line with its European rivals, ahead of both Spain and Italy but slightly behind Germany.
The English Premier League remains well ahead of the competition with its existing deal worth 2.3 billion euros per season for the 2016-19 cycle.
© Agence France-Presse