Serie A TV deals reach crucial point as CVC shows signs of cold feet

February 10 – The new Serie A deals for domestic and international broadcast rights – revenue that will underpin the league and its clubs – have reached crucial and sensitive stages at the same time.

Reports have surfaced that private equity group CVC is prepared to walk away from a the as-yet unsigned deal for €1.7bn, 10% stake in Serie A’s new media rights holding company.

At the same time Serie A’s domestic rights tender, targeting a €1.15 billion deal, has so far fallen short with the highest bid so far coming from relative newcomer to the broadcast rights business DAZN at €840 million.

The CVC deal with Serie A looks risk as following cold feet from club owners who having voted to get the deal done are now concerned over whether they are giving too much away.

For CVC doubts have arisen over the value of the Serie A rights internationally in the light of Chinese rightsholder PP missing payments and an increasingly likelihood of beIN Sports, the middle east and North Africa’s biggest buyer of sports rights looking uncertain to bid after being snubbed by the Italians after taking their SuperCopa to Saudi Arabia where the channel is banned.

Even if beIN were to overcome the issue of the Saudi episode it certainly won’t be forgotten with the broadcaster having already said a year ago it would struggle to match half the €500 million it paid for the last rights cycle.

The loss of beIN and a significant Chinese deal, would be a big blow for CVC’s financial modelling.

Domestic negotiation

DAZN’s €850 million per season offer for the 2021 to 2024 cycle is reportedly €100 million more than Sky’s. If accepted it would see the games move to DAZN’s streaming app.

Serie A is currently in private talks with the broadcasters to try and increase the offers. Under the current contract the rights are shared with Sky taking the bulk of the games. Between Serie A and DAZN, Serie A receives €973 million annually.

By sharing the rights again Serie A could conceivably get the rights figure above €900 million.

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