Mediapro hierarchy to meet French clubs next week over TV plans
Jaume Roures, the co-founder of Mediapro, is to meet with the club presidents from France's top two soccer leagues next week to explain more about the Spanish media rights and production agency's plans for domestic coverage.
Roures and Julien Bergeaud, the newly-installed managing director of Mediapro France, will attend the LFP general assembly on 12 December, at which Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 club hierarchy will convene, L'Equipe reported.
The duo will seek to allay any fears club presidents harbour, with issues over personnel, financial guarantees and concrete plans for the channel all having been cited in recent months.
Eyebrows were also raised that Mediapro France did not have a presence at the Sportel trade fair in Monaco in late October, with Bergeaud, the experienced Eurosport executive, only coming on board last month.
In May 2018, Mediapro picked up the lion’s share of rights to Ligue 1 as the agency, pay-TV's BeIN Sports and telecoms group Free were awarded the five main packages for a total of €1.153 billion ($1.27 billion) per season in a four-year deal starting in 2020-21, a 59-per-cent uplift on the current outlay of Canal Plus and BeIN. Mediapro's share will account for €780 million per season.
Seven months later, Mediapro and BeIN acquired Ligue 2 rights for €64 million per season, nearly three times the annual figure of €22 million committed at present by BeIN and Canal Plus, also in a four-year deal.
In a bid to dispel concerns, Roures told Le Parisien in late October: "Our contract with the LFP is a payment contract, which I must complete from next year. The rest appears in the press and I do not know how to qualify it, but it's not very serious... I cannot understand this agitation. We are not irresponsible.
"We have 10 months to go before Ligue 1. We have no other commitments to respect other than this one. We have the experience within Mediapro to make a channel in three months and hire people next year. We have time. I cannot understand this hustle and bustle."
Mediapro will launch its French soccer channel next summer, offering eight matches from each round of fixtures from Ligue 1 and another eight from Ligue 2. The channel will be offered to all premium TV operators in France, with talks understood to be ongoing with pay-TV's Canal Plus.
Mediapro's channel is expected to cost around €25 per month, albeit exact pricing will be announced in March 2020.
That €25 per month would likely have been higher had Mediapro won last week's Uefa Champions League rights tender in France.
Instead Canal Plus and BeIN secured the rights for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle (commercial broadcaster TF1 will show the finals) in deals worth a reported €375 million per year.
Mediapro has threatened to sue Uefa, claiming that the tender was conducted improperly and that it was wrongly sidelined after the second round of bidding.
Roures told L’Equipe last Friday: “There was a scheme. Our offers were better in both rounds. Since yesterday afternoon, Uefa was trying to reach this agreement between Canal Plus and BeIN Sports to increase the offer… But we have not been given the opportunity to do something.”