The Blues are world champions, but no one wants to broadcast them. Packing up their gear, on Friday after the France-Ivory Coast 2-1 match, the M6 teams had to wonder if the friendly match played in Marseille would be their last against Team France. Their TF1 counterparts may experience the same feeling on Tuesday in Lille after the France-South Africa match, the last match of their co-broadcast contract since 2018. So far, the French football team has been broadcasted by TF1 and M6. until the end of March.
Otherwise, nothing has been fixed: the announcement of tenders for matches of the period 2022/2028 – excluding the World Cup and Euro, sold separately – this autumn was not successful and Kylian Mbappe’s partners still do not know which channel will broadcast their next matches, scheduled for June for the League of Nations. “We may regret this a little. I got the impression that we fulfilled our mission with the right partners, TF1 and 6. The audience was good, even very good, and French football behaved very well, ”they noted at the event. At the end of the year, the President of the French Federation (FFF), Noel Le Grae, in an interview with AFP.
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When prestige doesn’t rhyme with… profitability
Centralized by UEFA and spearheaded by marketing agency CAA Eleven, European football’s mandated body, the procedure initially garnered disappointing offers: at the €2.4m per match offered by the Blues, according to a close case source, TF1 and M6 received remained well below the €3.5m , which they are currently paying for each meeting … OTC negotiations have since been opened and the Federation hopes to reach an amount at least equal to the current cycle, even if it means a repaint. lots or shortening the period of putting up for sale in the first place. Have the Blues and their stars suddenly lost their power of seduction?
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“Even with the French national team, football is not a direct profitable product for free channels,” Philippe Bailly, head of media consultancy NPA, told AFP. “There is, of course, a significant part of the image, prestige and loyalty, but at matches with lower stakes, the public is not deceived and the channels are not too.” The calendar is not conducive to major spending ahead of the 2022 World Cup, scheduled for the winter and already awarded to TF1 and beIN Sports: TF1 and M6 are involved in a merger project by 2023 that blurs the future of the two groups and de facto lowers prices. .
In 2022, TF1 and M6 are still in the “recovery” phase.
“I’m a little ashamed that one of the first cost-saving measures in the upcoming merger of the two groups is to offer a smaller amount than before,” Noel Le Grae regretted in late November, before promising in a recent course of the day “at the end of March” in an interview Ouest-France. The political situation – the French presidential election, the war in Ukraine – and health, however, are cause for concern about the future of the finances of the FFF, which returned €33.6m to the French team for television rights in the 2020/21 season.
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“TF1 and M6 remain in 2022 on a recovery and also with many uncertainties. In the case of a good period, you can break the piggy bank for such investments. When this is not the case, you pay attention to the costs,” deciphers Philippe Bailly. The Blues also suffer from the distribution conditions of their matches, which are considered “important” and reserved for unencrypted channels, even if paid co-streaming remains possible as long as the free player broadcasts all matches.
But the actors are not legion. “I don’t see France TV going on a gamble when it has its own sporting rights to defend (Six Nations, the Olympics, Roland Garros…),” says Philippe Bailly. “For smaller chains, it’s hard to see how they will make the investment profitable.”
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