Rai loses last appeal on Sky football decision

Italian public broadcaster Rai has lost a second appeal against an earlier court decision that allowed pay TV broadcaster Sky to rescind a deal that would have seen the broadcaster air free-to-view top tier international football in favour of commercial broadcaster Mediaset.

The latest court ruling clears the way for Mediaset to air free-to-view matches, for which it topped Rai’s offer.

Sky secured rights to the Champions League for the 2018-21 seasons in June 2017 and subsequently signed an agreement with Rai to allow the pubcaster to air one match a week, the two semi-finals and the European Super Cup final for the first year, with the option to acquire the same rights for the subsequent two years.

However, the pay TV operator maintained that his agreement was conditional on the rights it held being equivalent to those granted over the previous period, and that his condition had not been met because three matches a week were awarded to streaming service DAZN.

Rai’s first appeal against this ruling was rejected in June, paving the way for Sky and Mediaset to strike a deal.

A Milan court has now confirmed that appeal judgement, ruling that Sky has no obligation to sublicense the rights to Rai, which has been obliged in its turn to pay costs.

The ruling, which leaves Rai with no further avenue to appeal, means that the public broadcaster no longer holds rights to football other than national team games.

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