The French Football League (LFP) has avoided financial disaster after selling the latest round of Ligue 1 TV rights to commercial broadcasters.
The previous package brought in 668 million euros per year, but the new deal is worth just 606 million snd LFP president Frederic Thiriez has voiced concern over the current deal, which includes the 2012/13 season and three further campaigns.
“We feared the worst about the outcome of the negotiations,” Thiriez told reporters.
“The result is not satisfactory, but a catastrophe was avoided – (despite] the almost complete withdrawal of (telecommunications company) Orange and the partial withdrawal of Canal Plus.”
The deal was saved by the emergence of broadcaster Al-Jazeera. A major player in the French game, the Qatar-based company acquired rights for an additional six live Ligue 1 games per round on a pay-per-view basis. As part of the new deal, Canal Plus retain the rights to just two matches per week.
Thiriez believes the reduction in value of the league’s rights may only be a short-term problem though, with Al-Jazeera set to play a bigger role in the next round of negotiations for the 2016-2020 window.
“The decline was partially offset by an increase in international rights fees, from 17 million euros (per year) to 31.5 million, and the rights covering Ligue 2 increasing from 13 million to 18 million per year.
“So the total decline in income (over domestic and international rights for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2) was 40 million euros per year – about 6 percent.
“Al-Jazeera has a considerable economic bet on France. They need at least five years to succeed.”