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RMC Sport holds back payment on LNB basketball rights

RMC Sport, the French pay-television broadcaster operated by telco Altice, has not paid the second half of its annual €10m ($10.9m) fee for rights to club basketball competitions organised by the Ligue Nationale de Basket.

RMC Sport holds the exclusive rights to French basketball, with television rights said to account for 57 per cent of the LNB’s budget for 2019-20.

A €5m fee instalment is said to remain outstanding after RMC Sport suspended its payments.

Michel Mimran, director general of the LNB, told L’Équipe: “This plunges us into an extreme difficulty. I am waiting for more explanations from RMC Sport so that we can discuss it, not just a simple letter, because a lot of matches have already been broadcast.”

Altice swooped for the rights to the Pro A and Pro B leagues in a five-year deal running from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

It was recently reported that RMC Sport had paid the full instalment for its Uefa Champions League and Europa League rights during the 2019-20 season.

The instalments were due in the summer and then in January. The broadcaster’s lawyers have been studying the consequences of the ongoing postponement of the two competitions and any possible compensation claims, according to L’Équipe. The Altice-owned RMC Sport holds the exclusive French rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21 in a deal worth €350m per season.

The latest development comes after pay-television broadcaster beIN Sports this month informed the French Professional League (LFP) that it is suspending its payments for Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 rights until the competitions resume.

The move followed a similar stance taken by the Vivendi-owned Canal Plus over its forthcoming payments.