LNR and Canal Plus reach agreement on outstanding Top 14 TV money
The LNR, the organiser of French rugby union's domestic Top 14, has reached a settlement with rights-holder Canal Plus, the pay-television broadcaster, related to outstanding fees owed for the 2019-20 season, which was cancelled on the advice of the government.
Canal Plus pays €97 million ($108.4 million) per season for the LNR rights, and still owed 15 per cent, or €14.6 million, when the league called it quits after the French government extended the ban on professional team sports until the end of August.
In a joint statement today, the LNR and Canal Plus said: "The two partners have taken note of the end of the 2019-2020 season and have agreed to the payment of a fixed and final sum by the Canal + Group for this 2019-2020 season with counterparts granted by the LNR to the latter over the duration of the contract."
Canal Plus had only shown 60 per cent of Top 14 matches before the league was suspended in mid-March, so actually could have requested a reimbursement. However, it emerged last month that the broadcaster was willing to settle the outstanding sum for 2019-20 to ensure clubs' liquidity was not impacted.
It is understood that Canal Plus, whose four-year deal runs to the end of the 2022-23 season, has agreed to pay the full amount, which it is expected to recover over the remainder of its contract with the league.
Canal Plus has broadcast the Top 14 in France since 1995, and also holds the competition’s international rights from 2019-20 to 2024-25, and will take on the second-tier Pro D2 international rights from 2020-21.
It recently terminated its media rights deal with the LFP, the French soccer league, after the season was also cancelled in the wake of the government ruling.