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Football “TV rights act as a transfer mechanism from the viewers’ pocket to the players’ pocket”.
Posted on 9 March 2021

Tribune. The imbroglio of the TV broadcast of the matches ended with a 40% drop in the expected revenues of the Professional Football League (LFP). Release of Mediapro, the Sino-Spanish broadcaster that had offered a great price, and return of Canal+, which saves the end of the season but passes for the bad guy because it offers less money. The halt in the upward trend in rights that has been apparent for several years, in France and abroad, is nevertheless good news for consumers.

The LFP being a non-profit association, it is not expected to maximize its profit but rather to redistribute part of its earnings to the soccer world as a whole. As the buyers and broadcasters of matches are private companies, it is expected that they will seek to make money and not lose money. This intuitive vision is probably the reason why the stratospheric amounts obtained for the assignment of broadcasting rights are commonly perceived as a welcome victory against the broadcasters, and that conversely, amounts lower than the LFP's expectations are seen as proof of their shareholders' profit-making spirit and not, what would be fairer, as favourable to the viewers. Let's set the record straight.


First, less than 10% of the revenue from the sale of rights is allocated to amateur sport. Most of this was imposed against the advice of the profession by the public authorities, in the 20th century by a communist minister of youth and sports who gave her name to the tax, Marie-George Buffet. In addition, many companies bought rights to Leagues 1 and 2 for a few seasons and then withdrew from the game. In the past, these included TF1, Eurosport, Altice and Orange. As the expected profitability was not there, they ended up throwing in the towel. BeIN, which entered the market in 2012, lost one billion euros per year in the first few years and continues to participate in LFP tenders while it is still in deficit in France. But its Qatari shareholder has deep pockets and the Emirate has made sport its international showcase.

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Find the rest of the article in French if you are a subscriber.