Monday, February 17, 2020

when Mediapro wanted to sell Ligue 1 games to Canal +

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Jaume Roures, the founder of the Spanish audiovisual group Mediapro, during a press conference in Madrid, April 11, 2019. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

He never intended to sell Ligue 1 to anyone. Jaume Roures, the founder of Mediapro, has repeated it in all tones since he entered the French audiovisual landscape. In 2018, the Spaniard caused an earthquake by winning the broadcasting rights for the French football championship for the 2020-2024 seasons, at a price of 780 million euros per year, leaving a Canal +, historic partner of French football, struck.

Once the shock has passed, the question is on everyone's lips. How will Mediapro make such a profit when BeIN Sports is still losing money? The Spaniard quickly reveals a strategy, which he has not deviated from since. He intends to market a channel at a price of 25 euros per month, and aims to win between 3 million and 3.5 million subscribers. However, there is no question of giving up part of the matches to Canal +.

In 2019, however, negotiations are taking place between the parties, without any of the protagonists providing details. And for good reason. Contrary to what he has publicly stated, Jaume Roures proposed to Maxime Saada, the chairman of the board of directors of Canal +, to buy him "At cost price" the first batch of Ligue 1 rights he had acquired for 330 million euros and which contains the Sunday night match, the ten best matches and other matches, explains a source close to the file. He knows that the publisher absolutely needs posters for his own antennas in order to retain subscribers.

Catalan entrepreneur is very optimistic

In parallel, Jaume Roures offers Canal + the possibility of exclusively distributing its Mediapro channel to the public and telecom operators. But the Spaniard is greedy: he also demands that Canal + pay him 600 million euros of "Guaranteed minimum". At this price, easier to balance the accounts.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Football: the Spanish audiovisual group Mediapro reaffirms its ambitions vis-à-vis Canal +

It must be said that the Catalan entrepreneur is very optimistic: he is thus sure of being able to win 4 million customers. Not Maxime Saada, who has the experience of BeIN Sports as proof. Arrived in France almost eight years ago, the paid package, which costs the subscriber 15 euros per month, had only 3.2 million customers last year, according to Release.

Another idea of ​​Mr. Roures, to set up a joint company with which BeIN Sports could also be associated. The Qatari network of sports TV channels could thus bring the Ligue 1 matches it won in the last tender. The new Spanish channel would thus bring together all of Ligue 1, with the exception of the package broadcast on the channels of Canal +, and Ligue 2. No agreement will be reached between the two protagonists.

Canal + then turned directly to BeIN Sports. The Qatari suddenly gave him his own batch of matches for 330 million euros, allowing the chain of the Vivendi group to return to the race. For the Spaniard, whose chain starts this summer, the game promises to be tight.

Read also Canal + and BeIN Sports win the broadcasting rights for the Champions League

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