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Like beIN Sports and Canal+, Free is attacking the LFP for Ligue 1 rights

After being into sports and Channel+Free invites himself into the endless legal soap opera of the Ligue 1 broadcasting rights contract, period 2020-2024. According to our information, on March 15, the operator sued the professional football league in the Paris Court of Justice to demand a revision of the price of its contract.

While this attack is independent of those of beIN Sports and Canal+ (the former sublicenses the second two Ligue 1 matches per day at €332 million per season), which want the entire contract terminated, Free relies on the same observation: a ” inequality” of prices since the signing of the new deal between the League and Amazon last June. The American digital giant had then reclaimed the rights from Mediapro – 80%, including the 10 best posters of the season, for 250 million euros – while the Spanish audiovisual group was initially expected to pay more than 800 million euros per year.

Free does not consider itself a true partner of the LFP

Announcer of 100% of the Ligue 1 almost directly on his site and his “Free Ligue 1” application at € 42 million (excluding taxes) per season, Free no longer wants to pay an amount determined during the May 2018 tender, before the health crisis and the Mediapro affair. He is asking the courts to revise his price, in line with the difference between the “Mediapro” price and the “Amazon” price, for the entire 2020-2024 period.

Match commentators for free, in booths in offices in Paris.  (P. Lahalle/The Team)

Match commentators for free, in booths in offices in Paris. (P. Lahalle/The Team)

In addition, behind the scenes, the proprietor of the near-living plot has often expressed regret that he was not considered a real partner by the League and was not listened to. For example, he regularly regrets that he cannot broadcast fragments of some actions on social networks. Also, he should have called his application “Free Ligue 1 Uber Eats” during the contract’s first season (2020-2021), when he initially wanted to miss the League partner’s name. The latter would have refused … before granting him this right this season, as Amazon would have had the opportunity to launch its “Pass Ligue 1” without this listing.

After small gestures, Free opts for a more offensive formula

Until then, Free had been content to express his displeasure with small gestures, for example by validating the payment of the first installment of this season a few days late. Also, on February 17, 2021, the operator had requested a discount from the League in writing, without success. This time she opts for a more offensive formula. This attack on earnings will nevertheless have a direct effect on the judicial calendar. Initially scheduled for May, the magistrate’s decision is said to have been postponed to December, mainly due to the arrival of this new complaint.

Not enough to run Canal+’s business while President Maxime confided in Saada last Thursday The team don’t lose hope of winning: “There is a chance the Ligue 1 rights contract will be called into question”† In the meantime, the encrypted channel will have to honor its sublicense contract with beIN Sports, as recently requested by the Court of Appeal of Versailles, and pay the €332 million due per season for its two L1 matches (Saturday 9pm and Sunday 5pm). o’clock). Free will also have to settle his usual terms with the decision.

Contacted, Free declined to comment and the League did not respond to our requests.

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