Abu Dhabi Media and Starzplay pick up Serie A; ESPN renews EFL deal

Abu Dhabi Media and Starzplay have confirmed that they have acquired the MENA rights to Italy’s Serie A. 

ADM previously said that it had picked up the rights last month, in a deal worth a reported minimum total of €75 million. 

Starzplay will exclusively stream Serie A, along with Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana for the next three seasons starting this year. 

The league spent the 2021/22 season broadcasting the league on YouTube, after beIN Sports chose not to renew its deal after the 2020/21 season when it accused the league of failing to adequately tackle piracy. The relationship was also strained by Serie A’s deal to host the Supercoppa in Saudi Arabia amid heightened tensions between the countries. 

Haitham Al Kathiri, acting executive director, Abu Dhabi TV Network, said: “AD Sports’ acquisition of the exclusive broadcast rights to Serie A, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana confirms our leading position, and highlights our technical expertise and media portfolio. We look forward to broadcasting the competitions in partnership with Starzplay, which is enjoyed by millions of football fans around the world.”

Danny Bates, chief commercial officer, Starzplay, said: “Sports in the OTT space is a huge focus for us, and we have been investing in the live sports category over the last year with our platform witnessing an impressive subscription growth. As part of our long-term strategy, we are building this content category into one of our core products, offering the best in sports entertainment to subscribers across the region. With our stellar technical and customer support, Starzplay today is undoubtedly the best positioned platform to seize this incredible opportunity.”

ESPN renews EFL

In the US, Disney-owned ESPN has signed a deal to extend its broadcast deal with the English Football League (EFL) for two years through to the end of the 2023/24 season.

The deal has not been officially announced by the broadcaster, but it broadcast five matches over the opening weekend of the 2022/23 season.

Rights to the lucrative Carabao Cup – which features the top sides in England – are included in the deal, which was sold by sports rights agency Pitch International. 

ESPN has broadcast the EFL since 2017, when it replaced beIN Sports as the league’s US broadcaster.

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