Serie A postpones decision on Mediapro offer

Italy’s Serie A has pushed back a decision on whether to accept Spanish broadcaster and producer Mediapro’s bid for top-tier football rights for the 2021-24 seasons.

Mediapro, which was involved in an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the 2018-21 rights, has tabled €1.15 billion per season for the rights to matches for the three years from 2021, higher than the €973 million a season currently paid by Sky and streaming service DAZN.

The partnership proposed by Mediapro could involve the creation of a dedicated Serie A TV service.

The 20 top Italian clubs of Serie A met yesterday to discuss Mediapro’s proposal but failed to reach a decision. The group plan to continue talks ahead of a vote expected next week.

The splitting of rights between Sky and DAZN has resulted in a drop in subscriber numbers as viewers turned off from paying for two separate services, along with a reported rise in piracy.

Rights to the 2018-21 seasons were awarded to Sky and DAZN after a controversial annulment of an earlier award to Mediapro, and Italy’s clubs may be wary of striking a new deal with Mediapro as a result.

The league annulled the award of the 2018-21 rights after making a demand for guarantees from Mediapro. Mediapro parent Imagina and the company’s key shareholder, Chinese investment group Orient Hontai, subsequently made a joint guarantee amounting to €1.6 billion, but the 11thhour move was rejected by the league’s assembly.

Controversially, the league also claimed a €64 million deposit already paid by the Spanish broadcaster, a move that is still subject to legal proceedings.

Mediapro had 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. The league then gave Mediapro seven days to provide the necessary guarantee.

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