French competition authority rejects Canal+ and beIN complaints

French competition body, the Autorité de la Concurrence, has rejected discrimination complaints from pay TV broadcasters Canal+ and beIN Sports regarding the award of live Ligue 1 broadcast rights to Amazon last year. The Autorité cited lack of sufficient evidence that rights holder the LFP had acted improperly in doing the deal.

Amazon secured the rights in question after the LFP and Mediapro agreed to end a pre-existing contract early. This allowed Amazon to step in and secure a three-year deal (2021/22 to 2023/24) for €250m per season. Canal+ and beIN said this was discriminatory because they acquired Ligue 1 rights in 2018 for a much higher price.

The Autorité found that the information provided by Canal+ and beIN “was insufficient to conclude that the LFP had abused its dominant position by treating them differently from Amazon in the procedure for re-awarding the Mediapro batches.”

The LFP’s decision to award Ligue 1 rights to Amazon in 2021 following the collapse of Mediapro’s French launch sparked a furious reaction from Canal+, which had already agreed to pay more for 20% of the available matches than Amazon agreed to pay for the re-auctioned 80% previously held by Mediapro.

Canal+ had sub-licensed two matches per match day from beIN Sports, which subsequently took its own legal action against its partner after Canal+ said it would boycott the competition and failed to pay for the sublicensed matches.

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