Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have terminated their contract with Mediapro, the company who hold most of the TV rights for the next four seasons, sources have told ESPN.
Mediapro failed to make their last two payments to the league, €172.3 million on Oct. 5 and €152.5m on Dec. 5.
Quoting the coronavirus pandemic as their reason for not paying, they also wanted to renegotiate the contract of €830m signed when they won the rights in May 2018.
The news comes as a blow to professional clubs in France. Last season, because the league did not resume after stopping in March, they already earned less TV money than planned.
The French government recently distributed a €220m loan to ensure clubs would not go under.
According to reports in France, the league has obtained a payment of €100m — broken up as €64m now and €36m in January 2021 — from Mediapro in exchange for not suing them for breach of contract.
Canal+, the historical broadcaster of French football, are now likely to come in and make an offer to get the TV rights back but at a lower price than what Mediapro paid. They are also willing to give an advance on payment to the clubs to help them in the short-term.
L’Equipe reported on Friday that Canal+ could offer €590m-a-year to take over the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 TV rights for the next three-and-a-half seasons with some potential bonuses if their subscriptions numbers grow.
Telefoot, the channel broadcasting the matches, have struggled to attract subscribers since they launched in August. They have just over 600,000, which is too low to make the business viable. They will keep showing the games until a new broadcaster is officially chosen by the league.