AGCOM gives Serie A the greenlight to sell domestic rights in five year cycles

After protracted lobbying, top Italian football league Serie A will soon be permitted to sell domestic rights to its fixtures for five seasons instead of three. The news follows agreement for the change from Italian communications regulator AGCOM.

The move means Serie A could now sell five years’ worth of rights to broadcast or streaming partners when the current rights cycle ends in 2023/2024. In theory, that would mean new contractual terms running from 2024/25-2028/29.

Serie A has long argued that the three-year limit imposed on it adversely affect its ability to grow commercial revenues. However it remains to be seen how potential bidders might respond. Across Europe, it’s typical for soccer leagues to sell their rights in three year cycles. Not only does this provide regular opportunities for rights holders to increase valuations, it means buyers aren’t locked in to over-long deals.

At present, Serie A rights are controlled by Sky Italia and DAZN, both of which would almost certainly look to renew their rights. However they are likely to face competition from streaming platforms – with Amazon a growing force in European soccer.

AGCOM’s decision came as part of updated guidelines regarding Serie A. However not much has changed aside from the issue of contract duration. The body said: “The Authority’s observations focused on the profile of the extension of the licenses for five years, noting the need to consider the potential of the rights packages in the marketing phase, both by expanding the rights of the licensees from a technological, editorial, and commercial point of view, and by foreseeing possible new licensees.”

One other intriguing narrative related to Serie A is that the league was recently rumoured to be interested in acquiring all or part of Sky Italia. In news first reported by La Stampa, the strategic goal would be to build a Serie A TV platform tapping the infrastructure, organisation and customer base of the operator.

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