IMG and Rai land Serie A international rights

The IMG agency and state broadcaster Rai have emerged triumphant in the international media rights sales process run by Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, sealing agreements worth a total of €1.113bn ($1.326bn).

IMG has secured global rights to Serie A, while Rai has secured the Italian Communities package, across the three seasons spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21. Rai’s contract is for a dedicated Italian-language package specifically intended to serve Italian communities outside Italy. Lega Serie A said the deals will be worth €371m per season in total.

The Lega and its advisor, the Infront Sports & Media agency, opened the invitation to tender for international audio-visual rights to Serie A on August 11, with bids accepted through to September 15.

The official document was issued after an international roadshow, a first for the league, where stakeholders were briefed on the process during meetings held in London, New York and Shanghai in July.

The ITT was built on a regional approach, with rights being available on a global, continental or individual territory basis. The ITT included 85 packages in total and interested parties could bid for a single package or for several.

Paolo Nicoletti, a lawyer acting in the process, said officials narrowed down the bids to three “essentially very close offers”. Lega Serie A extraordinary commissioner Carlo Tavecchio added: “We have outlined the value of Italian football, doubling the proceeds that the Lega Serie A has received since the last sale.

“The value of the Italian championship has increased with great satisfaction… and above all to the 18 clubs that voted unanimously. We are in the European standard, along with the other great leagues.”

Luigi De Siervo, chief executive of Infront Italy, said: “In the last year, a lot of work has been done with teams, technicians, lawyers and commercial parties. The overall level of awareness of the potential of the Italian championship is growing, the most important players in the world have entered the competition, and we have chosen a partner who has convinced everyone not only economically but also, and above all, for the development project.  

“The satisfaction is great because our football is ranked third in economic value behind the Premier League and LaLiga, surpassing the Bundesliga by a lot.”