Frank Dunne

The Italian football league is finalising its guidelines for the tender process which must be approved by the country’s competition and communication authorities. The process is likely to be more complicated, controversial and political than the equivalent processes anywhere else. Story by Frank Dunne.

Paul Rehrig, general manager, Eurosport Digital, talks about Discovery’s deal with Twitter for coverage of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo

The deal struck this week between US media group Discovery and social media platform Twitter for coverage of the 2020 summer Olympic Games in Tokyo is expected to be the first of many such clip and highlights deals, as Discovery looks for additional ways to monetise its substantial investment in the rights in Europe.

At stake is the future funding of elite sport through the sale of media rights.

Italian public broadcaster Rai acquired the exclusive rights to the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan at a two-thirds reduction in value from the previous edition after a long stand-off between the company’s internal departments.

The success of Fifa’s centralisation of media rights to World Cup qualifiers involving African nations depends almost entirely on two deals: one covering the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) and a pan-regional deal for sub-Saharan Africa. About 95 per cent of the value of the rights is generated by these two markets, but both are highly problematic.

Uefa will go to market later this year with the rights to the Champions League and Europa League under pressure from Europe’s top clubs to at least maintain the kind of growth it enjoyed in the current cycle. But there are reasons why that will be a massive challenge.

The English Premier League was a benefactor of sterling’s decline in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union in June 2016.

Sky Italia is taking a calculated gamble in agreeing a two-year sublicensing deal with Mediaset for Uefa Champions League rights. Sky’s legal dispute with Italian public-service broadcaster Rai over the latter's option to renew the rights has not yet been resolved. If Rai eventually wins, it could sue Sky for damages.

Digital and data specialists Perform Content wrote to tennis’s ATP Tour this week to say the company is prepared to make a larger offer than that currently on the table from IMG for the betting and data rights to ATP World Tour events, SportBusiness Media understands.

The Mediapro agency’s offer for the domestic media rights to Serie A for the next two cycles, covering the six seasons from 2021-22 to 2026-27, is a plan B for the league in case it is unable to sell its rights in a competitive tender. The offer is the same as that made by the Spanish production house for the current cycle – an offer accepted by the clubs last year but later rejected.  

South African pay-television operator Multichoice is facing the biggest challenge in its 26-year history in the form of a two-pronged regulatory attack on its dominant position in the country’s sports-rights market.