Ligue 1 clubs agree to split 2020-24 rights windfall equally

French Ligue 1 clubs have agreed to an equal division of the increase in annual media-rights revenue they will receive during the 2020-24 cycle.

The top-tier clubs will earn nearly €1.2bn ($1.3bn) per season for their domestic broadcast rights from 2020-21 to 2023-24 in deals with the Spanish Mediapro agency, pay-television beIN Sports, and telco Iliad. This marks a rise of over 60 per cent from the €726.5m per season earned from 2016-17 to 2019-20 in deals with Canal Plus and beIN.

The decision to equally distribute the €444.5m per season revenue increase was ratified by 19 out of the 20 Ligue 1 clubs, according to French media reports.

It will now be considered for final adoption by the board of directors of the French Football League (LFP), reports L’Équipe.

Nine higher-profile Ligue 1 clubs (PSG, Lyon, Marseille, Saint-Étienne, Monaco, Bordeaux, Rennes, Lille and Nice) are said to have agreed to the equal distribution in return for sole access to the international rights revenues.

Qatar-headquartered beIN holds the Ligue 1 international rights in a six-year deal from 2018-19 to 2023-24 worth an average of €80m per season. The clubs and the LFP have been trying to renegotiate the contract as they say it undervalues the rights.

French Ligue 1 bosses are also in talks with beIN to discuss a delayed fee instalment for the international rights to the now-cancelled competition.

The vote on the domestic rights revenue appears to deliver a blow to Ligue 2 clubs that had hoped to receive 12.4 per cent of LFP’s net media-rights revenues during the 2020-24 cycle. The issue of the distribution of revenues amongst second-tier clubs is set to be discussed tomorrow (Tuesday). Clubs have been pushing to remove the current cap of €110m per season that is shared between the Ligue 2 sides.

The LFP has taken a €224.5m government loan to compensate for the domestic rights revenue that would have been paid by beIN and Canal Plus if the season had been completed.

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told the French parliament last month that the current seasons of professional sports, including football, would not be able to resume because of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.