Soccer DAZN, Sky retain Italian Serie A rights in $4.8 billion deal

Milan, DAZN and Sky will keep the rights to screen live Serie A matches in Italy for the next five seasons after Italian clubs on Monday approved bids worth at least 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion), league officials said.

After four months of negotiations, the Serie A clubs had met in Milan on Monday to review final offers tabled by streaming services DAZN and Sky which amounted to some 900 million euros per year until the end of the 2028/2029 season, just below the annual value for the current agreement.

Seventeen of the 20 clubs backed the offer but the decision drew sharp criticism from Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis.

“It’s a total defeat for Italian football, these deals will be the death of Italian football,” he told reporters, interrupting Serie A Chief Executive Luigi De Siervo during a press briefing.

TV rights are a crucial source of revenue for Serie A teams such as this year’s champions Napoli, Juventus (JUVE.MI) and Milanese clubs AC Milan and Inter.

DAZN offered some 700 million euros to screen all Serie A matches for the five seasons in Italy, said De Siervo.

Comcast’s unit (CMCSA.O) Sky Italia offered some 200 million euros to co-broadcast three out of 10 Serie A games per matchday.

Under a three-year deal expiring next June, Serie A generates some 930 million euros per season from the sale of its TV rights in Italy, with DAZN again holding the lion’s share.

The new deals may match or even top the value of those current contracts when including some variable components linked to revenue shares and hit 1 billion euros, De Siervo said.

The value of the rights for Serie A are well below what is generated by the English Premier League.

That means more of the world’s top players are drawn to the English clubs, a reverse of the situation in the 1980s and 1990s when the Italian league was the pinnacle of European soccer.

In recent months, Serie A explored the creation of a media platform to distribute matches to other TV outlets as well as the launch of a home-run live video subscription service.

“Figures were below our initial expectations and below our current contracts…but I think we were right to continue our relationship with Sky and DAZN,” Torino chairman Urbano Cairo told reporters after the meeting.

“Creating a Serie A TV channel now…would had meant add further risk to a risky business as soccer”, said Cairo, who runs his own media group.

Source: Bahrain News Agency