July 1 – With beIN Sports pulling out of the bids for Serie A broadcast rights, the Italian league and its chief executive Luigi De Servio has awarded the rights to Abu Dhabi Media group in a deal that is less than beIN were offering before they pulled out.
Serie A club owners will now be left wondering why they have lost over $260 million on the final two years of their deal with beIN and are now taking less money in a new deal than was being offered by beIN.
The multi-year ADM deal is worth substantially less than $100 million over its term with a similar reduction in exposure for the league, its clubs and its sponsors.
Taken together these are huge revenue drops for a league that says it has ambition to be seen amongst the biggest and best in world football – on and off the field – but has seeded the international marketplace with growing suspicion over its deal making transparency and administrative governance.
Earlier this week it became clear that there were other dealmaking forces at play when a letter sent to AS Roma chief executive Pietro Berardi questioned the role AS Roma had taken in bringing beIN back to the negotiating table after the broadcaster and the league had fallen out over the Italian Supercup staging in Saudi Arabia.
De Servio asked Berardi “on the basis of what title and under what mandate AS Roma has “negotiated” the license in question.”
He then went on to issue a stunning rebuke to one of his leading clubs saying that “negotiations parallel to those of statutory bodies by anyone conducted or in any case, directly and / or indirectly, known and / or supported, as well as detrimental to the prerogatives of the competent subjects, are harmful.”
Harmful in the respect that they had back channelled a deal larger than the league’s executive could achieve?
It seems De Servio has got the deal he wanted. The clubs won’t be getting the deal they wanted or, mopre importantly for them, the money. They will likely have some big questions for De Servio.
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