Friday, September 29, 2023

Canal+ and BeIN once again rejected by the courts

Canal+ and BeIN Sports have once again seen their requests rejected in the context of the conflict between them and the Professional Football League (LFP), over the television rights of Ligue 1, by decision of the Paris judicial court this Tuesday.

The two channels are in conflict with the LFP since the transfer of L1 television rights to Prime Video, the Amazon channel, in 2021, after the Mediapro fiasco, which acquired the main rights in 2018 for 784 million euros a year before defaulting. .

New victory for the League

After the Paris Court of Appeal and the competition authority, the judicial court in turn rejected Canal+ and BeIN “all their requests and ordered BeIN to fulfill all its obligations.”

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This is a new victory for the League, which has just entered a crucial period by putting its television rights back into play for the period 2024-2029.

The two groups considered that the LFP had committed an “abuse of discrimination” by granting Prime Video the broadcast rights to 80% of the matches from the 2021-22 to 2023-24 seasons (previously held by Mediapro) for an amount of 250 million euros per season, while at the same time they were obliged to broadcast the matches of lot 3 (broadcasting two matches per day of L1), acquired in 2018 for 332 million euros per season.

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A broken balance?

BeIN Sports, initial winner of this lot 3 for the 2020-24 period, had sublicensed its rights to Canal+ at the same price. According to BeIN, the assignment of rights to the Amazon channel “disturbed the balance of the license agreement for lot N.3 and eliminated the reason for this agreement,” the decision reads.

The court considers that BeIN bases its argument “on the economic impact that Canal+ would suffer”, but “the inseparability of the contracts and the interdependence of the contract signed by beIN Sports with those signed by Mediapro cannot in any case result from the sole reduction of the economic interest.” Consequently, “the condition of interdependence of the contract related to lot 3 signed by beIN Sports with the contracts related to lots 1 and 2 signed by Mediapro is missing.”

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By provisional order of August 2021, and then by ruling of the Court of Appeal of Versailles, Canal+ had already been sentenced to fulfill its sublicense contract and, therefore, to pay and retransmit the two matches per day. In July 2022, the Paris commercial court also dismissed Canal+ in its attempt to terminate its sublicense agreement with BeIN.

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