A collapse in a French TV deal has sparked big fears that the same may happen in the Premier League – having knock-on effects for Championship teams such as Stoke City
The Mirror report that French broadcaster Canal Plus has told Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, the country’s Premier League and Championship equivalents, that it will not pay £100m due as the next instalment.
Citing force majeure, which allows a contract to be terminated because of extraordinary circumstances, Canal Plus have refused to pay due to the lack of games during the coronavirus pandemic.
Canal Plus chief executive Maxime Saada has written a letter insisting: “Our pay-TV activities are strongly impacted by the closure of large part of our sales channels and by the weakening of the attractiveness of our sports offers.
“Our advertising revenues are in free fall [and] our international television and Studiocanal activities are also severely affected.”
The fear in England is that, while home broadcasters Sky and BT Sports are willing to be flexible due to the pandemic, overseas broadcasters may not be so understanding.
Canal Plus has the Premier League rights in France and, with foreign deals making up £4.35b in the last round of negotiations, overseas interest is only just shy of the £5b earned through domestic broadcast rights.
It underlines why the Premier League are so keen to get the season completed.
Top tier clubs will have to pay back £750m in TV rights if they are unable to finish the season, which is an amount some teams cannot afford to lose.
There is no escape for the second tier though. While the focus is on the cash-rich Premier League, the issue will have a big impact on the second tier.
It is an issue that will impact EFL clubs, too, with the Premier League using a portion of the broadcasting rights to fund their solidarity payments to clubs in the Championship, League One and League Two.
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Solidarity payments are linked to broadcasting rights, with each Championship club earning £4.65m from the Premier League last season.
That dropped to £700,000 in League One and £470,000 in League Two.
With parachute payments set to decrease for Stoke, naturally, any hit to solidarity payments would be another withered stream of income for the club in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.