Serie A launches international broadcast rights tender, but excludes MENA

Italian football top flight league Serie A has excluded the MENA region from the launch of its 2021/22-23/24 broadcast rights tender.

The league has launched the rights tender for 57 international territories, including 52 country-specific contracts, four continental tranches and one global offer. In addition, the body has launched mirrored packages for the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa – with the latter being offered in the condition that rights to the competition will be hosted to an additional broadcaster should it be played outside of Italy.

Part of the reason for MENA being handled differently is due to conflicts in the region. The league signed a deal with Saudi Arabia to host three out of the next five Supercoppas in the country from 2018, despite the nation being embroiled in a trade war with neighbouring Qatar – which owns the region’s broadcaster beIN Sports.

As a result, beIN did not broadcast the league for a week following its restart in June. The broadcaster only agreed to resume broadcasting the league on the condition it was handed a steep discount on its US$500 million deal. This was to reflect, from beIN’s perspective, that the rights were no longer exclusive due to the targeted piracy campaign from Saudi state-backed beoutQ.

It is currently unclear how the league will handle the MENA rights going forward in light of their recently discounted review.

The launch comes as Serie A enters the final stages of wrapping up the 10% sale of its new media unit to a joint-bid from CVC Capital Partners and Advent International. The consortium, which also includes the country’s FSI fund, will pay a total of €1.7 billion for the stake, and will play a role in managing the broadcast rights in the coming years.

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