Ligue 1 clubs set to lose combined €1.3 billion this season

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria (Getty Images)
Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Angel Di Maria (Getty Images)

Clubs in France's Ligue 1 are set to suffer catastrophic combined losses of more than €1.3 billion this season due to a combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and the collapse of a record domestic broadcast deal, a source close to the French league (LFP) said on Wednesday.

Confirming earlier reports by sports daily L'Equipe, the source said clubs had been warned by the LFP as well as the DNCG - French football's financial watchdog - that combined losses for the 2020/21 campaign would reach an eye-watering total of €1.314 billion.

The 20 top-flight clubs are set to have combined costs for the season of almost three billion euros, a considerable chunk of which will be absorbed by the country's richest club Paris Saint-Germain.

However, with fans having been almost entirely shut out this season due to restrictions in place to battle the pandemic, the broadcast deal collapsing and the transfer market slumping, total income is expected to be little more than €1.6 billion.

The LFP will in the coming days put the majority of its domestic TV rights up for tender again after the disastrous collapse of the deal with the Chinese-owned group Mediapro.

The rights were sold to Mediapro for more than €800 million a year starting this season.

It was a record deal for football in France, but a missed payment due at the start of October precipitated two months of negotiations as Mediapro sought to reduce the amount it paid.

In December a court allowed the LFP to withdraw from the deal.

Meanwhile, the source said that losses of around €400 million are expected as a result of fans being locked out, while up to the same amount again is expected to be lost because of the depressed transfer market.

Many French clubs' business models are centred around their ability to sell on players to richer foreign outfits at a huge profit.

The depressing outlook may yet improve, if more sales are made in the final days of the January transfer window and at the end of the season, and depending on how much money is raised from a new broadcast deal.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What is your favourite sport to watch on TV?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
41% - 12423 votes
12% - 3701 votes
19% - 5634 votes
3% - 783 votes
1% - 299 votes
2% - 707 votes
5% - 1547 votes
8% - 2538 votes
3% - 1050 votes
Water sports
1% - 274 votes
American sports
1% - 390 votes
3% - 1011 votes