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Mediaset names ex-AC Milan chief as Premium president

MediasetMediaset has named former AC Milan chief Adriano Galliani as the new president of its struggling pay TV arm, Mediaset Premium.

Galliani, who joins managing director Marco Leonardi at the head of the pay TV outfit, led AC Milan for over 30 years, leaving in April this year following the sale of the football club by Fininvest to a group of Chinese investors. He subsequently took charge of Fininvest’s real estate interests.

Galliani’s appointment comes at a crucial juncture for the company, joining the pay TV operator on the eve of the allocation of Serie A football rights for the next three seasons.

Mediaset said in a statement that Galliani’s presence as “a high-profile figure in the world of sports and TV rights” would benefit the company.

CEO Pier Silvio Berlusconi hailed Galliani’s appointment as “an important reinforcement” of the company’s management ahead of the allocation of Serie A rights.

Serie A rights are still up for grabs following a postponement in June after Mediaset refused to participate in a previous auction and filed a complaint with the country’s competition regulator over the terms of the tender.

Mediaset said at the time that it ould attempt to ensure fans had access to Serie A football.

Pay TV rival Sky subsequently secured exclusive rights to Champions League and Europa League football for the coming three seasons, depriving Mediaset of the competitions. However, the loss of Champions League rights could mean that the pay TV outfit is able to table a higher bid for Serie A.