Italy’s Serie A enter €950m a year TV deal talks with Spain’s Mediapro

January 29 – Italy’s Serie A is in talks with Spain’s Mediapro on a €950 million deal for the 2018-2021 seasons. This follows a breakdown in discussion with Sky Italia who had not met the €1.05 billion minimum set by the league’s advisor Infront.

Infront signed a deal with Serie A in May 2014 to advise on their rights, guaranteeing the league a minimum of €5.94 billion over six years. Reaching that guarantee was always likely to be contingent on the final years of the agreement surpassing the €1 billion mark per season. Domestic TV broadcasting rights for the 2015 to 2018 period in Italy reached €945 million per season.

Spain’s Mediapro – itself under pressure from investigators in Spain having been named in the FIFAGate corruption trial in New York – reportedly included the creation of a TV channel in its pitch.

Mediapro’s initial offer was rejected by the league according to Infront CEO Luigi De Siervo, reported Reuters, before negotiations were opened on a revised proposal. De Siervo said they would prepare a new tender for the rights if no deal is reached with Mediapro.

While the domestic deals are still in flux, last November the league appointed IMG to handle international TV sales in a three-year deal reportedly worth €371 million per season. The price marks a doubling of the value of the Italian overseas rights as well as a switch in agency.

MP & Silva had paid €186 million a season for the previous period, from 2015 to 2018. That deal was shrouded in controversy when Italy’s antitrust police opened an investigation into potential collusion between the MP & Silva, B4 Capital and IMG agencies over the destination of the rights. At a league meeting 18 of the 20 Serie A clubs are reported to have voted for a switch to IMG from the MP & Silva.

Broadcasters buying

As the league has been sorting out its representation, the Italian broadcasters have been buying.

Sky Italia has acquired rights to the 2020 UEFA European Championships, while Rai has agreed a sublicensing deal with Sky for the Champions League giving it a Champions League match featuring an Italian club on Wednesday evenings.

Sky holds live rights to the Europa League from the 2018/19 season through to 2020/21 with Rai having Champions League rights for the same period.

Rai has now added exclusive rights to Italy’s qualifying matches for Euro 2020, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the new Nations League competition. Sky’s 2020 deal will see the broadcaster air 51 matches from Euro 2020, 24 of which will be exclusive.

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