It was a year ago. An agreement was concluded between Mediapro and the Professional Football League (LFP) confirming the “exit” from the French football landscape of the financially drained Sino-Spanish audiovisual group. Six months later, in June 2021, the small hexagonal world of the round ball gave a relative phew of relief by entrusting, by mutual agreement, to the American group Amazon the care of broadcasting 80% of the matches of Ligue 1, the national championship. elite, and Ligue 2, over the period 2021-2024.
But, in passing, French football had to accept a steep discount on its product: where Mediapro had committed to pay 796 million euros per season for Ligue 1, Amazon only offered 250 million. Nothing to boast about. Nor to fully ensure the future. Especially when a championship from a neighboring country, the Spanish Liga, for example, has just concluded, Monday, December 13, a new agreement which should ensure 4.95 billion euros in revenue over five years in broadcasting rights (2022- 2027), i.e. an amount close to the current level.
In this context, “The first stake” for French football “Is the securing and consolidation of the amount” television rights “Over time to give visibility to all the players concerned”, report the deputies Régis Juanico (Generation. s) and Cédric Roussel (La République en Marche). The two parliamentarians led a fact-finding mission on “audiovisual broadcasting rights for sporting events”, launched after the Mediapro crash. Their report was adopted on December 13.
- A longer contract term
Securing and consolidating television rights begins with “Give the leagues the opportunity to negotiate the marketing of their rights over a longer period”, advance the two deputies. This extension of the duration of the operating contract (they are proposing five years, compared to four currently) would promote, according to them, “Greater competition between buyers” and would allow these “To establish a more ambitious commercial strategy” the return on investment date being “Registered more over a long time”.
- A commercial company to exploit and manage the rights
In their report, the two deputies also support the creation of a commercial company responsible for exploiting and managing these television rights. This would allow “Diversify sources of funding” et could be opened to private capital, bringing in new resources.
This model is already in force in other European leagues. The LFP is just embarking on this path. Decided to create a commercial subsidiary, it launched a call for applications for interested investors. They had until Monday, December 13 to come forward: the LFP said on Tuesday that it had received “Around ten indicative offers”, its objective being to choose a “Minority partner”.
MM. Juanico and Roussel suggest, however, to regulate this type of structure: private investors could not “Hold more than 20%” of such a company and “The principle of solidarity between professional sport and amateur sport should be expressly mentioned”.
- A match broadcast for free every day
Moreover, considering that ” the value of professional football depends on the appetite given to consumers ”, the two parliamentarians plead so that, during the negotiation of television broadcasting rights, two lots are reserved for the free broadcasting of one match per day of Ligue 1 and extracts-summaries of the matches. That “Would support the exhibition of national football”, they consider.
- Diversify funding
In addition to these measures “Security and consolidation” television rights, the two parliamentarians also insist on the need to “Limit teledependence” soccer, ” which has exploded over the past ten years (48% of the revenues of professional clubs ”, and, therefore, of “Change the economic model” of French football.
They put forward several proposals. Like that of giving the possibility to the clubs to exploit only commercially the stages where they evolve / move. Or to establish “A tax credit on sports partnership contracts, at a rate of 20% within the limit of a ceiling of 100,000 euros per contract”, or push for the creation of sports finance companies “On the model of companies for the financing of cinematographic or audiovisual works”.
- Supervise salaries and regulate the number of players
Finally, if he pleads for “Investment support” clubs, the report of the fact-finding mission also pushes for better supervision and better regulation. This applies for example to salaries, with the establishment of a collective “salary cap”: it would be advisable to “Limit the payroll of French clubs to 60 or 70% of their total budget”, say the deputies.
This also applies to the number of players per club: the report calls for “Impose on French clubs a ceiling of 25 players under contract” (against an average of 36.1 currently).