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Lega Serie A approves domestic rights tender

Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, has approved the tender process for its next set of domestic broadcast rights.

The announcement came following an ordinary assembly meeting held in Milan yesterday (Thursday), with tender documents set to be released tomorrow (Saturday).

The rights on offer are for the three seasons spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21. Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore said the tender will be split into packages aimed at pay-television operators, digital terrestrial television platforms and internet outlets, along with a subordinate tender intended for independent financial intermediaries.

The newspaper added that 18 of Serie A’s 20 clubs voted in favour of the approved tender, with two abstentions in the form of Napoli and Roma.

Lega extraordinary commissioner Carlo Tavecchio said in a statement: “There are two very distinct calls to be published on Saturday at the Lega Serie A website. It was a long, correct and important course supported by the Lega’s structure, which absolutely had to reach this goal.”

Offers under the tender process will be accepted through to January 22. The launch was initially scheduled for the end of December, but was postponed so that interested parties and the Lega would not be forced to work on the process over the Christmas holiday period.

The Lega has been forced to draw up a new rights auction after Italian media group Mediaset refused to participate in the last tender and the only bidders tabled offers that did not meet expectations.

Mediaset refused to participate in protest after filing a complaint to Italy’s antitrust authority, the AGCM, over the structure of the sales process, which the broadcaster claimed favoured pay-television rival Sky.

In October, the IMG agency and state broadcaster Rai emerged triumphant in the international media rights sales process run by Lega Serie A, sealing agreements worth a total of €1.113bn ($1.318bn).

IMG secured global rights to Serie A, while Rai landed 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 expatriate Italian communities. Lega Serie A said the deals will be worth €371m per season in total.