Canal Plus, the prominent French pay-TV broadcaster, has suffered a second court loss within a week after being ordered to honor its sub-licensing agreement with rival operator BeIN Sports to air matches from domestic soccer’s top-flight Ligue 1.

The ruling was made by the Paris Commercial Court on Tuesday (July 5) and means Canal Plus will have to continue paying a €332 million ($338.1 million) yearly fee to BeIN for rights to two Ligue 1 matches per week (which BeIN originally bought) until the end of the 2023-24 season.

The French pay-TV heavyweight has been seeking to extricate itself from its agreement with BeIN since the LFP, the country’s professional soccer body, awarded rights to the eight other weekly matches to video streaming giant Amazon, in a three-year deal worth €260 million per annum.

The rights to the eight games were previously held by Spanish media company Mediapro in a four-year deal worth €780 million per annum that was terminated, after just a few months, in December 2020.

Canal Plus – along with other major broadcasters – argued that Amazon’s deal is under-priced and that all lots should have been re-tendered after the collapse of the Mediapro deal.

Indeed, both Canal Plus and BeIN – along with telecoms company Free – all initiated separate legal action against the LFP over what is seen as the unreasonably low price of Amazon’s contract.

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Canal Plus, however, has had no luck in the French courts as this latest loss represents its third failed attempt to win its legal battle with BeIN.

Initially, the Vivendi-owned broadcaster’s legal action against Qatar-backed BeIN was settled in the Nanterre Commercial Court – in BeIN’s favor – in August 2021.

Canal Plus appealed the decision, and in April this year but the Versailles Court of Appeal ruled that it had to respect and uphold the sub-licensing contract it struck with BeIN in February 2020.

The operator then took the matter to the Paris Commercial Court but again failed to win the case.

According to L’Equipe, the court has also ordered Canal Plus to pay €50,000 to BeIN and €15,000 to the LFP in legal costs.

Last week, Canal Plus lost a separate appeal against the LFP after it accused the organization of abusing a dominant position during the aforementioned media rights tender.

The Paris court of appeal rejected a submission from Canal Plus related to an original decision by the country’s regulatory competition authority in June last year, in which the latter body dismissed an appeal by the broadcaster against the LFP.

Prior to Amazon acquiring the eight Ligue 1 games, it had been expected that Canal Plus and fellow pay-TV broadcaster BeIN would be successful in negotiating an agreement with the LFP – however, this turned out not to be the case, and BeIN then snapped up the two aforementioned games above, before sub-licensing them to Canal Plus.

The French regulatory authority then rejected the original Canal Plus appeal, based on the LFP excluding the two matches per week from an earlier auction of all Mediapro’s rights.

At the time of the appeal, Canal Plus said that the original court ruling meant it had to “suffer the consequences of the unfair treatment” that it perceived the LFP was engaged in with the various Ligue 1 broadcasters.

The consecutive rulings represent big wins for the LFP as it will retain the revenues from its media rights contracts for the 2020-2024 cycle.