Italian league rejects Mediapro’s €1.6bn guarantee for Serie A

Italy’s football league has rejected a €1.6 billion guarantee by Spanish broadcaster Mediapro that was designed to rescue its deal for Serie A rights in the country.

The rejection from La Lega came after Mediapro yesterday formally accepted the demand made by the league for guarantees to take forward its successful bid for Serie A rights. In a surprise development, Mediapro parent Imagina and the company’s key shareholder, Chinese investment group Orient Hontai, made a joint guarantee amounting to €1.6 billion.

The company said that, pending formal acceptance of its guarantees by the league’s assembly today, it would resume the process of marketing Serie A rights, subject to the ruling of the Milan court that suspended the deal.

However, the Italian league’s assembly this morning rejected the 11th hour move. La Lega president Gaetano Miccichè said that the matter was “resolved” and that the league would go ahead with its plan for a fresh sale of the rights, with initial offers to be assessed this week. Miccichè said, in line with the terms of its contract with Mediapro, the league would also be keeping the €64 million deposit already paid.

The league had earlier said that “from an initial analysis” the guarantee from Mediapro did not conform to its requirements, because of the involvement of third parties in making it.

Mediapro initially secured the rights to Serie A in a deal that would have seen it pay €1.05 billion a season for the next three seasons.

However, a Milan court annulled the agreement after pay TV operators Sky filed a complaint.

Following that ruling, the league assembly decided to terminate the contract with Mediapro, giving the Spanish group seven days to provide the necessary guarantee.

Mediapro last week secured the rights to France’s Ligue 1 football tournament in a move that stunned current rightsholder Canal+ and was seen as presenting a significant threat to the future of the pay TV operator.


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