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Mediapro: no plans to sub-license Ligue 1 rights

Spanish broadcaster Mediapro wants to exploit its rights to French Ligue 1 football on its own and has no plans to sub-licence anything to Canal+, according to Mediapro boss Jaume Roures.

Roures told French newspaper Le Figaro that selling a part of the rights to Canal+ would “impoverish” the offering of its own channel and that this was not his goal.

Roures told Le Figaro that Mediapro had “paid a lot” but that its objective was to “grow the market”, as it had already done in Spain, where the value of football rights has risen from €400 million, with one million subscribers 12 years ago to €2.2 billion with four million subscribers today.

He told the paper that Mediapro had grown the value of Spanish football fivefold and that all stakeholders had benefited.

Roures said that the price of Mediapro’s offering in France could be lower than the €25 he cited at the time of winning the rights, which was based on a calculation of how to make a return on his €800 million a year investment on the basis of winning three million subscribers. He said that Mediapro could drop the price if this was necessary to win more subscribers.

Roures has calculated that Mediapro’s investment would break even with 3.5 million customers and turn a profit with four million. He had previously indicated that he hoped Canal+ would carry the channel the group is planning to launch.

In a coup that rocked Canal+ in May, Mediapro secured three of the seven packages for Ligue 1 rights on offer for the 2020-24 period, including three of the top four packages.

Maxime Saada, CEO of Canal+, which lost the jewel in its crown of sports rights to the Spanish group, has previously signalled his belief that Mediapro would have no choice but to sub-license the rights. He told sports paper L’Équipe in June that the Spanish broadcaster’s deal with the French Professional Football League made “no economic sense”.

Saada said at the time that to turn a profit on such an investment would require seven million subscribers, taking into account such costs as production costs, commission to distributors and taxes, and noted that BeIN Media, which also held rights to La Liga, Serie a and European football as well as Ligue 1.