Euro 2020 Favorites Losing Millions, Players Could Be Next

    • Ligue 1 is looking for ways to make up for its lost broadcasting revenue.
    • Canal+ pulled out of a deal after Ligue 1 said it would share the rights with Amazon.

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France is the favorite to win Euro 2020, despite a potentially bankrupt domestic league.

France’s Ligue 1 looked set for a massive come-up when upstart broadcaster MediaPro agreed to a $1.2 billion per year contract last season. Then MediaPro skipped its payments and the deal was terminated after four months. In mediation, MediaPro agreed to fork over just $121 million to resolve the issue.

Ligue 1 also lost out on revenue from its canceled season due to the pandemic.

In hopes of recovering from the financial fallout, Ligue 1 granted Amazon and Canal+ joint broadcasting rights for the upcoming season.

  • Amazon will pay $302.6 million per year for eight matches from each round of Ligue 1. 
  • Canal+ would pay almost $400 million for two games each week — roughly $100 million more than Amazon for four times fewer games.
  • Following the league’s announcement, Canal+ — which has covered Ligue 1 since its inception in 1984 — objected to the deal.

“After the failure of the choice of Mediapro in 2018, Canal+ regrets the French professional league’s decision to pick Amazon’s proposal,” Canal+ said. “Canal+ will not, therefore, be broadcasting Ligue 1.”

It gets worse: Players could leave, too, if there’s not enough money. “If you are not able to renegotiate player salaries, you are risking bankruptcy,” said Pierre Mae, author of a soccer rights book.

Canal+ vocalized that it has no intentions to pay on its first due date in August, but a league board member said that action could be taken within 15 days under French law.

France plays Portugal in its final group-stage match on Wednesday, following a win over Germany and tie with Hungary.