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Canal+ threatens blackout after Amazon-Ligue 1 €825 million deal

At the end of last week, Amazon managed to win the bid for the broadcast rights of Ligue 1. For the three seasons from 2021/22 to 2023/24, Amazon has obtained the largest share of the domestic rights for the first division league in France. 

Amazon will have access to 304 biggest games a season, or eight games each week, thanks to a partnership with the Ligue de Football Professional (LFP). Each year, the licensing package comprises ten top pick games, 66 second and third picks, and 304 games from Ligue 2, the second-tier league.

The news of Amazon’s deal with LFP infuriated Canal+. The Vivendi-owned pay-television network has a separate arrangement in place to broadcast two games per week for €330 million (US$399.8 million) a year. Following the failure of the organising body’s arrangement with Spanish agency Mediapro, Canal+ tried to reclaim its rights, which it sublicenses through BEIN Sports.

Canal+ urged LFP to open a new national broadcast tender. The French broadcaster stepped in to broadcast the balance of the 2020/21 Ligue 1 season at a reduced fee, claiming that its rights had been severely devalued leading to the breakdown of the Mediapro contract. Canal+ insisted in a statement that LFP’s deal with Amazon for Ligue 1 is detrimental for them.

‘After the failure of the choice of Mediapro in 2018, Canal + regrets the decision of the Ligue de Football Professionnel to retain Amazon’s proposal to the detriment of that of its historic partners Canal+ and BeIN Sports.’

The broadcaster will now focus on broadcast deals of UEFA Champions League, Premier League, and the Rugby union league, as well as Formula One and MotoGP.  Meanwhile, the agreement with LFP represents Amazon’s largest soccer deal to date. Amazon has previously purchased lesser packages of rights in Premier League, Bundesliga, and Serie A. With the deal with Ligue 1, they will have wider broadcast rights for one of the biggest European leagues over the course of the season.

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