Serie A on course to hit Eur1 billion per season target

Italy’s top football league, Serie A, has accepted bids for its live rights for the next three seasons worth Eur829 million per season.

Rupert Murdoch’s satellite pay-television platform Sky Italia will pay an average of Eur561 million per season while Silvio Berlusconi’s digital-terrestrial pay-television service Mediaset Premium will pay an average of Eur268 million per season, according to TV Sports Markets. The fees represent an increase of around five per cent on the value of the same packages in the current deals.

The rights-fee payments will rise incrementally across the three seasons. In 2012-13 Sky will pay Eur558 million and Mediaset will spend Eur259 million, in 2013-14 Sky will spend Eur561 million and Mediaset will pay Eur268 million, and in 2014-15 Sky will pay Eur564 million and Mediaset will spend Eur277 million. Andrea Locatelli, vice-president of Infront Sports & Media, the league’s media adviser, said: “We are satisfied. This income will provide stability for Italian football. We wanted to push ahead with the tender process because the television industry needs to plan in advance.”

Sky’s fee represents a reduction of Eur14 million per season on what it paid for the rights in the current two-year deals, 2010-11 and 2011-12. Mediaset, on other hand, is paying over Eur50 million per season more. As in the current deals, Sky’s deal gives it the rights to all 20 Serie A teams, while Mediaset has acquired the rights to 12 teams, with the first choice of 10.

The league had put seven packages of rights up for auction but did not receive bids at the reserve prices for the other five. It will now enter into private negotiations for a second package of live pay-television digital-terrestrial rights, two packages of pay-television highlights rights, one for satellite and one for digital terrestrial, free-to-air highlights rights and radio rights.

With the international rights, the rights to the Coppa Italia and non-exclusive new media and local television rights to be sold later this year, the league is well on course to meet its target of Eur1 billion per season. The individual clubs will then sell their archive rights, which are expected to bring in a further Eur30 million per season. The league currently earns about Eur930 million per season.

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