By Stuart Thomson
Pay TV operator Canal+ is taking legal action over what it alleges is discriminatory treatment on the part of Spanish broadcaster and producer Mediapro over the terms it is willing to offer for carriage of its French football offering Téléfoot.
“Taking into consideration the conditions that have been imposed on it by the Mediapro Group for the distribution of its Téléfoot channel, Canal+ Group has no choice but to take legal action to force a cessation of the unequal treatment it has been subjected to and to secure equitable and non-discriminatory terms of agreement,” the group said.“The prerequisite conditions to any negotiation imposed by the Mediapro Group on Canal+ are next to impossible, unrealistic in current market conditions and are aimed at excluding Canal+ Group from distributing the particularly attractive football offering of Téléfoot.”
An initial hearing is scheduled before the Nanterre commercial tribunal on September 24.
Mediapro, which acquired the lion’s share of rights to French Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football for the 2020-24 seasons two years ago, displacing Canal+ as the prime supplier of French top-tier football coverage, has in recent weeks struck distribution deals with tall of th country’s main ISPs – Bouygues Telecom, SFR, Free and Orange – but a deal with Canal+ has failed to emerge.
Canal+ has not given details of the terms sought by Mediapro that it specifically objects to. The pay TV operator has been publicly sceptical about the viability of Mediapro’s business model for its French channel.
Canal+ has successfully clawed back a number of key football rights since the loss of its Ligue 1 rights, gaining the English Premier League and – in partnership with BeIN Sports – access to the UEFA Champions League. A separate sublicensing deal with BeIN has given it access to the latter’s share of Ligue 1 matches, meaning it can broadcast two games each match-day for the 2020-24 period.