The Disney media group has secured rights to broadcast the French Ligue 1 in Brazil from 2021-22 until 2023-24. Disney will broadcast matches exclusively across its ESPN and Fox Sports channels, in addition to its Star+ streaming service. The Star+ streaming service will launch in South America on August 31. Star+ is already due to show matches from several European leagues.
Disney and its channels hold rights in Brazil to the English Premier League until 2021-22, Spain’s LaLiga until 2025-26, and the Uefa Europa League until 2023-24. The group also holds rights to South America’s Copa Libertadores. ESPN last showed Ligue 1 in the 2017-18 season after sublicensing rights from media group Globo.
Disney also holds non-exclusive rights for the ongoing Copa América national team football tournament, which Brazil is hosting.
Last year, OneFootball, the Germany-based digital platform, obtained streaming rights from match week nine onwards of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season in Brazil, with a “digital-first free-to-air” deal.
Ligue 1 rights in Brazil were procured by streaming operator DAZN in a three-year deal running from 2018-19 to 2020-21. However, the deal was cancelled as DAZN scaled back its services in Brazil. During the 2019-20 season, rights to one fixture per match week were sublicensed by DAZN to the Brazilian free-to-air broadcaster Band.
Meanwhile, Ligue 1’s domestic rights were obtained by Amazon for the 2021-24 cycle causing a whole new dispute over local rights with Canal+ being involved. Due to last season’s fiasco over other disputes with MediaPro and the LFP, French clubs are bracing for some of the worst financial losses in the history of the league after the league nearly lost out € 400 million in broadcasting revenue last season. BeIN holds the Ligue 1 international rights from 2018-19 to 2023-24 in a deal signed in 2014 and worth an average of €80m ($94.8m) per season. The value of the deal has been criticized by various French club presidents as they seek to renegotiate the contract upwards.