Mediapro committed to LFP but stands by call for renewed contract terms
Jaume Roures, the president of Mediapro, today moved to reassure the LFP, the French soccer league, that the company remains committed to its lucrative four-year domestic rights deal, but insisted the terms for season one need to be renegotiated and indicated that the next instalment, due in six weeks, will also be missed.
Mediapro's four-year deal covering the 2020-21 to 2023-24 cycle is worth €814 million ($965 million) per annum, but it did not make its second instalment payment of €172 million due on 5 October, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
That led the LFP to take out a bank loan to cover its next payment to clubs on 17 October, and the league has now referred the matter to the commercial court in Paris.
At a hastily arranged media conference in the French capital today, Roures (pictured) said the two parties are going through a conciliation process, which is expected to last several weeks.
As a result, the Spanish executive said, "the question of deadlines" - €150 million is owed by 5 December - "does not make much sense."
In a statement, Roures said: “The contract between Mediapro and the LFP is still in force, and it is here to stay. Mediapro has the ambition to establish a lasting presence in the French football landscape, to allow the Ligue 1 championship and the clubs to be more competitive.”
Roures insisted Mediapro did not overpay for the rights and "knew that we wouldn't be profitable the first year," but believes the impact of Covid-19 should be taken into account in the pricing for year one.
He noted: “No one could predict the socio-economic effects of the Covid. This led us to see with the league how to adapt to this situation, without calling into question the commitment of April 2018.”
On the conciliation process, Roures said: "I do not see why we would not find solutions. The contract is to last. We have that will. The only thing we ask is to adapt to the situation for this season. I can't believe we're not going to make it."
Mediapro launched the Téléfoot channel to show Ligue 1 and Ligue 2. It is priced at €25.90 per month, and Mediapro had targeted around 3.5 million subscribers.
Roures revealed today that Téléfoot has 600,000 subscribers, more than double what had been reported in France in recent weeks.