Xavier Couture, the former sports director of TF1 then chairman of the board of Canal + in 2002, knows the world of sports and television rights perfectly well. For him, the encrypted channel has nothing to be ashamed of in its management of football rights.
How do you analyze the management of Canal + with football?
XAVIER COUTURE. You have to look at things with simplicity and not with passion. Football is an economic activity, certainly of passion, but which has a quantified truth: is it possible for the one who buys the television rights to make them profitable? Mediapro proved it couldn’t and gave up. Football also believed that Mediapro must possess magical power. Fortunately, he remained a historical, traditional actor, who knows the world of the media, the production of fictions and intervenes in sport. This actor, there is only one and it is Canal +. And he agreed to come back and do his job. He is the only one who is reasonable in this matter. The only one who knows his job because he gets things at a real price. This agreement is rational. Not revengeful.
In your opinion, did Canal + play its part with composure?
This business is not a liar poker story. Things are done in relation to economic reality. Of course, in this negotiation, some are more skillful than others, but that is not the bottom of the matter. There was only one buyer left and one seller who absolutely must sell. It wasn’t the most complicated business in the world. And we can even consider that Canal was generous in this matter.
Because the channel was not at bay. She had not lost subscribers by losing part of French football. The Canal group has been very generous in saving French football. Because he agreed, after a few unfortunate episodes, to clean up the situation.
How will relations be between French football and Canal + in the future?
I hope everyone understood that economic reality had to be imposed on everyone. We can gloss and write a novel by explaining that the channel has brought football to its knees. But, beyond this romantic, we just had to come back to reason: Canal was the historical partner and showed a form of resilience by agreeing to forget the recent past in order to save the end of the championship. Canal is generous in this matter, we must not say anything else. The channel has not done a cheap heist on football. Quite the contrary. And French football has become reasonable again. We are back in the era of the rational.
Has Canal + left to become again for a long time the main broadcaster of French football?
On the visible horizon, I want to say yes, because we do not see who else, today, can have the means to make such an investment profitable. But life has shown that football remains attractive. Who can say that this market is frozen for a very long time. But the League, before doing a bad way to Canal +, will now think twice.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr