Amazon makes offer for broadcast rights of troubled French Ligue 1

·2-min read
The collapse of a record tv deal with Mediapro has left French clubs on the brink financially

Amazon is among the contenders to secure the domestic broadcast contract for France's troubled Ligue 1 although neither they nor the other candidates met the asking price when the rights were put up for tender on Monday, the French league (LFP) said.

Online sports streaming platform DAZN and American media giant Discovery also made offers, but the two main, established broadcasters on the French scene -- Canal Plus and the Qatari group beIN Sports -- chose not to come forward.

The LFP said in a statement that it had received offers from "three major international groups: Amazon, Discovery and DAZN" for the domestic broadcast rights to show games in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.

"As the reservation price was not met, the consultation process was unsuccessful. The LFP will give itself 48 hours to define the next steps."

Discovery owns the France-based pan-European television network Eurosport, while Amazon is a growing presence on the football broadcasting scene in Europe.

It recently won the rights to show Champions League matches in Italy, already shows live football in Germany and has rights for some English Premier League matches.

Ligue 1 was left without a domestic broadcast partner after the spectacular collapse of a record contract with Mediapro which had been expected to bring in 780 million euros ($941m) per season for the four years to 2024.

That contract was terminated in December, barely four months in, after Mediapro -- a Spanish company controlled by a Chinese investment fund -- failed to meet payment deadlines.

The Mediapro deal accounted for 80 percent of all the rights, with Canal Plus paying 330 million euros a year for the remaining 20 percent.

It wanted to rip up that deal and have it also put out to tender again, and so did not take part in the tender process.

Neither did beIN, whose chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi is also the president of Paris Saint-Germain.

It was revealed last week that clubs in France's top flight were set to suffer catastrophic combined losses of more than 1.3 billion euros ($1.57 billion) this season due to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic -- which has led to games being played in empty stadiums -- and the collapse of the Mediapro deal.

The league does not even know who, if anyone, will broadcast Ligue 1 matches this coming weekend, when Marseille and PSG are set to meet in what is the biggest game on the calendar.

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