Canal Plus takes Mediapro to court over Téléfoot carriage terms
Canal Plus, the pay-television broadcaster in France, has initiated legal proceedings against Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, after failed attempts to reach agreement over the carriage of Téléfoot, the new dominant home of domestic soccer.
Canal Plus remains the sole company without a distribution deal in place for Téléfoot, with Mediapro France having sealed agreements with telecoms quartet Orange, Free, Bouygues Telecom and Altice's SFR.
In addition, deals are also in place with the likes of Apple and Samsung TV.
Mediapro is paying more than €800 million ($948 million) per year for the main packages of rights to Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 over the next four seasons, and Téléfoot offers live coverage of 80 per cent of domestic fixtures, comprising eight matches per round from each of the two divisions.
The 2020-21 Ligue 1 season got under way on 21 August, but talks between Mediapro and Canal Plus are understood to have broken down in recent weeks.
Canal Plus indicated today that Mediapro is seeking to impose unfair conditions on any deal.
In a statement, it said: "Taking note of the conditions imposed on it by the Mediapro Group for the distribution of the Telefoot channel, the Canal+ Group is forced to refer the matter to the court to put an end to the inequality of treatment to which it is subject and to obtain fair and non-discriminatory recovery.
"The conditions precedent to any negotiations imposed by the Mediapro Group on the Canal + Group are similar to impossible conditions, are unrealistic in current market conditions and aim to exclude the Canal + Group from the distribution of the particularly attractive football offer of Telefoot."
A first hearing is scheduled for 24 September.
Canal Plus customers have been able to watch two Ligue 1 games per matchday in the opening weeks of the season, at 9pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday, after the broadcaster sub-licensed the rights from pay-TV rival BeIN Sports.
Téléfoot costs €25.90 per month, with a one-year commitment, or €29.90 per month with no commitment.
The carriage deal with SFR also gives Téléfoot access to Uefa club competitions in France in the 2020-21 season, the last in Altice's contract.
It will also carry all 266 games per season from European club soccer's second-tier Europa League and new third-tier Europa Conference League from 2021-22 to 2023-24.
Téléfoot's next live game is the Ligue 1 clash between Lyon and Nimes this evening.Sportcal