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DAZN in 'Pole Position' for Ligue 1's Domestic TV Rights.

Roger Hampel

DAZN Ligue 1
DAZN Ligue 1

In a notable development in the sports media industry, DAZN, a prominent sports streaming platform, is reportedly leading the race to secure the domestic TV rights for France's Ligue 1 for the 2024 to 2029 period. This news comes as a significant update following the French Professional Football League's (LFP) decision to opt for private negotiations after its initial rights auction attracted unsatisfactory bids.

A Shift in Strategy

The LFP's original aim was to garner substantial revenue from the rights sale, targeting €530 million for its two main domestic packages and an overall goal of €1 billion when including international rights. However, the landscape changed when it became clear these targets were unattainable. Consequently, the LFP is now focusing on maintaining its current revenue levels.

DAZN's Emergence

The company, known for its digital-first approach, is believed to have increased its offer, which has placed it in a favorable position against other contenders like BeIN Sports and Amazon.

The Current Rights Landscape

As it stands, Amazon pays €275 million for the rights to eight weekly fixtures, while Canal+ broadcasts two games through a sub-licensing deal with BeIN Sports, which pays €330 million for these rights. This current arrangement highlights the competitive nature of the market and the high value placed on top-tier football content.

The Competition

Despite DAZN's apparent lead, BeIN Sports remains in contention. Meanwhile, Amazon's strategy seems to be shifting, potentially focusing on the Friday evening game. Notably, Canal+, a long-term partner of Ligue 1, has withdrawn from the bidding, expressing dissatisfaction with the LFP's handling of the situation, especially following the fallout of its previous deal with Mediapro.

Industry Implications

This scenario is reflective of the broader trends in sports media rights, where digital platforms are increasingly challenging traditional broadcasters. The situation also underscores the volatility of sports rights values and the need for leagues and broadcasters to adapt to the evolving market dynamics.

What Lies Ahead

With no set deadline for a decision, the LFP is in a delicate position as it navigates these negotiations. The outcome of this deal will not only determine the broadcast partners for one of Europe's top football leagues but also signal potential shifts in the sports broadcasting landscape. The evolution of digital platforms like DAZN in acquiring major sports rights could redefine how audiences consume sports content, emphasizing streaming and on-demand services over traditional broadcast methods.

A New Direction for Ligue 1

The LFP's approach in this cycle of TV rights negotiations reflects a strategic shift in its vision for broadcasting French soccer. LFP Media's chief executive, Ben Morel, speaking at a recent sports conference, indicated that the league is close to finalizing a deal. This deal is crucial for Ligue 1's future, as it aims to balance financial sustainability with broadening its audience reach.

The European Soccer Rights Game

This situation is not unique to Ligue 1. Across Europe, football leagues are grappling with the changing dynamics of media rights sales. The increasing interest from streaming services and the fluctuating market valuations of sports content are causing leagues to reassess their strategies. Ligue 1's current negotiations could provide insights into the future trajectory of media rights sales in European football.

Source: SportsMedia


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