Mediapro’s deal with the Italian football league to secure Serie A rights for the 2018-21 seasons has already provoked a response from Sky, which has indicated it may take legal action.
Under Italian regulations, rights to Serie A cannot be held by a single buyer. However the league sold the rights to all games to Mediapro as part of a package provided for independent intermediaries, in the absence of adequate bids for its other five packages.
Sky claims that Mediapro is not an independent intermediary but an operator of services, which could reserve games for its own thematic channels.
Mediapro for its part has committed to distributing the rights on as many distribution platforms as possible. Luigi de Siervo, the CEO of Infront Sports and Media, which is responsible for marketing the rights on behalf of the league, has also said that the “current operators” would not be excluded from football and would have the opportunity to sit down with Mediapro to hammer out a deal.
The deal, which is subject to approval by the Italian competition regulator, marks the first time that the Italian football authorities have sold the rights to Serie A games centrally.
Mediapro has secured the rights to cover Serie A games in the Italian market only. While the deal is greater in value than the €2.7 billion that the Catalonia-based group paid for Spanish La Liga rights, it is only €1,000 beyond the minimum threshold set by the Italian league. Mediapro’s bid was however well ahead of what either Sky or Mediaset were willing to offer for the rights, according to local reports.