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Lega Serie A secures uplift in rights fee as Rai retains Coppa Italia

State broadcaster Rai has retained domestic rights to the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana club football competitions, with Lega Serie A gaining a 60 per cent uplift in the value of the contract.

Lega Serie A launched a tender process for the rights across the three seasons spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21 in Italy last month.

The Lega had set a minimum rights fee of €30m ($36.2m) per season for a package of exclusive live rights and said Rai will pay €35.5m per season for its new deal. Rai, the current domestic live rights-holder, paid a total of €67m for rights covering the three seasons from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

Italian newspaper La Repubblica said media group Mediaset had also been in contention for the rights, but ended its bid at €31.1m per season.

Director general of Rai, Mario Orfeo, said: “The Coppa Italia, as shown by the excellent ratings of the last editions, is a high quality television product and will be added to the (Uefa) Champions League, which will feature four Italian teams, and the exclusivity until 2022 of the Italian national team matches. 

“With the Coppa Italia, the Champions League and the national team, the next football season will see Rai as the absolute protagonist, with a very rich schedule of great football in the early evening.”

The B4 Capital agency currently holds international rights to the two tournaments and the Lega yesterday (Monday) said that private negotiations over a new contract for this package will continue with a view to maximising revenues.

In other news, the Lega has issued the Mediapro agency with a deadline of May 22 to provide the financial guarantees needed under its rights deal for Serie A, the top division of Italian football. The Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper said the ultimatum has been delivered with a Lega meeting scheduled for that day.

Mediapro last month warned that it would be unable to provide Lega Serie A with the full financial guarantees for its rights deal with the body amid the current deadlock in the tender process, adding that this situation would change if the Lega elected to form its own channel to exploit the content.

Earlier in April, pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia succeeded in suspending the tender launched by Mediapro for rights to Serie A. Sky requested a Milan-based court to verify whether Mediapro’s tender respected Italian laws. The suspension of the tender until May 4 was the result of the request, with a ruling expected on Sky’s claims expected tomorrow (Wednesday).

Lega Serie A in February accepted an offer for its domestic broadcast rights from Mediapro. The Lega said the Spanish agency had made an offer worth €1,050,001,000 per season, exceeding the minimum revenue target of €1.05bn that had been set.