Amazon Prime Video has sealed a ‘historic’ deal with the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) for the bulk of the domestic broadcast rights to the top-flight Ligue 1 for the 2021/2022 to 2023/24 cycle.
Under the terms of the agreement, the streamer will air 304 live Ligue 1 matches per season, which equates to eight games per week and 80% of the available fixtures, along with 66 second and third picks, and a Sunday highlights show, over the course of the next three seasons.
Building on Amazon’s ever growing rights portfolio, the deal is said to be worth €275 million per year, according to the Financial Times, compared to Mediapro’s record arrangement which was valued at €814 million annually before being terminated just four months into the contract’s first season.
“Ligue 1 is the country’s most watched domestic football competition and we’re incredibly happy to bring every club and the most thrilling matches to Prime Video each week for the next three seasons,” noted Alex Green, Managing Director of Prime Video Sport Europe.
The move has provoked pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus, which maintains an existing agreement with the LFP for two Ligue 1 games per week in a pact valued at €332 million per year, to threaten a blackout on its deal.
Last week, when the LFP convened at a general assembly meeting, the football governing body failed to agree on a broadcast strategy for the next cycle, with the LFP chairmen said to be unsatisfied with the proposals on offer.
However, the creation of a dedicated channel jointly financed by beIN Sports and Canal Plus until the end of the 2023/24 season was identified as the most favourable route forward for the league, with the two broadcasters expected to agree a deal with the LFP.
Canal Plus stepped in to screen the remainder of the 2020/21 season following the collapse of the Mediapro contract as a temporary resolution to provide coverage of fixtures from the French top-tier.
The broadcaster then called for a fresh bidding process after handing back the rights to the LFP, arguing that the broadcast package had been ‘overvalued’.
“After the failure of the choice of Mediapro in 2018, Canal Plus regrets the decision of the Ligue de Football Professionnel to retain Amazon’s proposal to the detriment of that of its historic partners Canal Plus and beIN Sports,” the broadcaster said in a statement.
“Canal Plus will therefore not broadcast Ligue 1.”
Canal Plus President, Maxime Saada, also reaffirmed that the broadcaster remains ‘determined’ in its protests after witnessing Amazon sign a deal for eight matches per week for a fee which is reportedly less than the sum that Canal Plus cashes out for 20% of fixtures.
“These rights, which represent 80% of Ligue 1 matches, including the 10 best matches, were sold for €250m to Amazon whereas they had been acquired by Mediapro in 2018 for €784 million,” Saada said, according to French newspaper L’Équipe.
“The LFP wrongly considered that Amazon’s proposal was cumulative with the amounts of the rights awarded in 2018, namely the €332 million from Canal Plus and the €42 million from Free for the digital rights. This scenario does not exist. Canal Plus will not pay €332 million for 20% of the matches, when Amazon broadcasts 80 per cent for €250 million. We will therefore not broadcast Ligue 1. After the Mediapro chimera, the LFP and club presidents are therefore reproducing the same error as in 2018.”