Italian Sports Minister wants free access to Serie A live goals show

Italy’s Sports Minister, Vincenzo Spadafora, has returned to the topic of free access to Serie A broadcast coverage by proposing that a similar system be employed for the return of domestic club football as that introduced by German pay-television broadcaster Sky Deutschland for the Bundesliga.

Speaking to Italian public broadcaster Rai, Spadafora proposed a ‘Diretta Gol’ show – the broadcasting of near-live goals and action from various simultaneous matches in a single broadcast – on a free-to-air basis.

He said: “We should definitely think about it also in Italy, it will avoid gatherings in public places and bars.”

Sky Deutschland has made its ‘Konferenz’ coverage of Bundesliga and second-tier 2. Bundesliga matches available on a free-to-view basis for two match-weeks, following the resumption of football in Germany.

Sky’s Konferenz has been available on the free-to-view Sky Sport News channel and free via a live stream on the Sky Sport website.

Spadafora has continually pushed for open access to Serie A’s resumption after Covid-19. Last month he said he would return to the “very thorny issue” of free-to-air access to games, with matches set to be played behind closed doors.

After lockdown measures commenced in earnest in March, the Lega and Sky Italia hit out at comments by Spadafora criticising the lack of free-to-air access to behind closed doors matches amid the crisis.

Sky Italia stressed at the time that it had made the Juventus-Inter match available on its free-to-air digital terrestrial channels TV8 and Cielo. Sky Italia holds the rights to Serie A jointly with subscription OTT platform DAZN.

The pair are in the penultimate season of their agreement with Lega Serie A. Sky holds the rights to seven of the 10 weekly fixtures, a total of 266 matches broadcast on its platforms per season. DAZN holds the rights to the remaining three matches giving it a total of 114 per season.

The deals with Sky and DAZN are worth €973m ($1.07bn) per season. Both deals are exclusive and platform neutral and run from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

Earlier this month, Serie A clubs voted to resume the competition on June 13, pending government approval, as the league continued to adopt a tough stance on payments by rights-holding broadcasters.

Serie A has been suspended since March 9, with Italy particularly hard hit by the global pandemic. The league also stressed that rights fee payments must be met by broadcast rights-holders.