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Lega Serie A scraps Mediapro rights deal

Lega Serie A, the governing body of the top division of Italian club football, has returned to the drawing table for its next set of domestic media rights after opting to terminate its contract with Spanish agency Mediapro.

The decision was taken unanimously by the Serie A clubs during a Lega assembly meeting held yesterday (Monday). Lega Serie A in February accepted an offer for its domestic broadcast rights from Mediapro. The Lega said the agency had made an offer worth €1,050,001,000 ($1.26bn) per season, exceeding the minimum revenue target of €1.05bn that had been set, but the deal has been met with challenges ever since it was struck.

Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport said Monday’s decision was taken after Mediapro had presented an additional guarantee of €186m in order to immediately commence work on establishing a dedicated channel to exploit the rights.

The clubs are said to have deemed this offer as insufficient and the Lega will now start private negotiations over reassigning the rights for the three-season period spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21. Gazzetta added that pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia and digital sports content and media group Perform have been linked to a combined offer for the rights worth between €950m and €970m per season.

Lega Serie A president Gaetano Miccichè said: “As regards the topic related to the assignment of TV rights, we will open a path of private negotiations with potential stakeholders, then with all broadcasters, and we are confident of arriving as soon as possible on receipt of offers that can meet club expectations.”

Sitting in the Court of Milan, Judge Claudio Marangoni this month ruled that Mediapro and Lega Serie A had to re-evaluate a tender launched in April, following a challenge lodged by Sky.

Sky initially secured the suspension of the tender process following a ruling on April 16. Marangoni this month stated that the tender must be cancelled as it was not properly formulated and breached antitrust rules, a verdict that Mediapro had appealed against.

Sky is currently Serie A’s main rights partner, paying €585m per season for rights to the matches of all 20 teams, and has continually stated its opposition to the Mediapro deal.