M6 offers short-term FTA Ligue 1 solution during tender process
M6, the free-to-air commercial broadcaster in France, has offered to show matches from French soccer's Ligue 1 while the LFP, the professional league, seeks a long-term solution through a new tender.
Nicolas de Tavornost, chairman of M6, has written to LFP president Vincent Labrune saying while the broadcaster would not be in a financial position to participate in the tender, it could provide a free-to-air home for Ligue 1 beyond this month.
De Tavornost wrote: "Without wishing to interfere in the current discussions around the rights of Ligue 1, our channels are not intended to acquire lots, we nevertheless wanted to tell you that [...] we could put at your disposal our antennas for the diffusion of such match in order to offer visibility to your competition and its sponsors, to avoid any rupture of diffusion and thus to ensure the necessary social link around the broadcast of Ligue 1.
"We have developed a strong link with football fans, who recognise M6 as having real legitimacy in football matters."
M6, in partnership with FTA rival TF1, holds rights to this summer's Uefa European Championships, having shown Euro 2016 on home soil, as well as France’s qualifying matches for the 2022 Fifa World Cup and Uefa Nations League.
From 2021-22, it has landed first-pick matches plus the finals of the Uefa Europa League and new Europa Conference League, adding up to 16 games per season, to 2023-24.
GlobalData Sport reported earlier today that the LFP is to next week launch a new tender for the 80 per cent of its domestic media rights it regained from Mediapro, after the league and the Spanish media rights agency terminated their agreement in December.
However, the LFP will not include lot 3, the two Ligue 1 games per matchday at 9pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday, which Canal Plus sub-licensed from pay-TV rival BeIN Sports.
Earlier this week, Canal Plus chairman Maxime Saada wrote to Labrune saying the broadcaster would be returning its package and called for a new tender to better reflect the value of the league's media rights.
However, the LFP believes it only has the legal right to re-tender the Mediapro packages because Canal Plus' agreement is with BeIN, not the league.
Téléfoot, the pay-television channel that Mediapro established to show eight games from each round of matches in the top two divisions, has offered to continue showing the fixtures until a new broadcasting partner is secured. At present it will definitely televise matches until 31 January, and possibly beyond.
Saada said this week that Canal Plus would continue showing its matches until 5 February, and has proposed offering games on a pay-per-view basis.