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Court upholds Sky Italia’s €7m fine over Serie A marketing

The regional administrative court of Lazio (Tar) has upheld the €7m ($8.3m) fine imposed on pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia over misleading marketing of its Serie A football offering during the 2018-19 season.

The Tar’s decision underlined an earlier one by the Italian Competition Authority (AGCM), which had previously found that Sky’s marketing of Serie A rights broke Italy’s Consumer Code on two counts.

Firstly, that Sky Italia had not provided “clear and immediate information” on what was included in its ‘Sky Calcio’ package for the 2018-19 season. It was ruled that it then continued to allow new customers to think that the broadcaster held the rights to all Serie A matches over the three-year cycle between 2018-19 and 2020-21, reports Calcio Finanza.

Secondly, that it implemented “aggressive practices” to unduly influence customers to continue their subscriptions after being given clear information about which matches it could broadcast.

The Tar judge was reported to have said: “Expressions were used that could actually be interpreted in the sense that the subscription would have contained, for the following season and/or for the entire three-year period 2018-19 and 2020-21, at least all Serie A matches.

“In this lies the intrinsic error of the message conveyed by the commercials, and with it the deceitfulness and incorrectness of commercial communication.”

Sky Italia’s broadcast rights for the current rights cycle are comprised of two packages, the first of which, Package 5, includes rights to three matches per weekend for a total of 114 per season, including the 8.30pm game on Sunday. Sky also acquired Package 6 – four matches per weekend or 152 per season, including the 8.30pm match on Mondays.