Ligue 1 clubs ‘reach agreement’ on broadcast revenue split

The 20 clubs that make up Ligue 1, the top division of French club football, have reportedly agreed on a revenue distribution system for the competition’s next broadcast rights cycle.

French newspaper L’Équipe said a system was established at a meeting last week. Ligue 1’s 2020-21 to 2023-24 domestic rights are worth a total of nearly €1.2bn ($1.3bn) per season in deals with Spanish agency and production house Mediapro, pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group and Free Mobile. BeIN will sublicense its domestic Ligue 1 rights from next season to pay-television broadcaster Canal Plus as part of an exclusive distribution deal between the companies.

The new rights cycle represents an increase of nearly 60 per cent over the current contract, valued at €726.5m per year, with L’Équipe reporting it has been agreed that the additional €400m will be split equally between the clubs, representing around €20m each after subtracting taxes and other deductions.

International rights revenue, a thorny subject of late, will be split equally between nine clubs that are deemed to have a leading status in European football – Paris Saint-Germain, Olympique Lyonnais, Olympique de Marseille, Saint-Étienne, AS Monaco, Girondins de Bordeaux, Stade Rennais, Lille and OGC Nice.

This will amount to around €60m per season in international revenue, with €20m to be shared equally by the nine clubs and the remainder to be assigned according to certain criteria.

L’Équipe said the new system was agreed to by 17 of the 20 clubs, with Marseille objecting and Lyon abstaining. A third club, whose identity is unknown, was not present at the meeting. Backing from 16 teams was required for the system to be approved. An agreement was not reached on the division of revenue for Ligue 2 clubs.

Last week’s meeting was held after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas last month reportedly raised the prospect of the French Football League (LFP) suing beIN in an escalation of the argument over the valuation of Ligue 1 international rights.

Qatar-headquartered beIN holds the Ligue 1 international rights in six-year deal from 2018-19 to 2023-24 worth an average of €80m per season. The deal was agreed in 2014.

The clubs and the LFP have been trying to renegotiate the contract as they say it undervalues the rights, particularly given the new deals signed for domestic rights.