Mediapro’s Serie A rights tender suspended after Sky action

Pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia has succeeded in suspending the tender launched by the Mediapro agency for rights to Serie A, the top division of Italian club football.

Sky yesterday (Monday) said it had requested a Milan-based court to verify whether Mediapro’s tender respected Italian laws. The suspension of the tender until May 4 is the result of the request.

“The tender by Mediapro… raises so many perplexities, making it necessary to verify its legality before presenting any important offers,” Sky Italia said in a statement.

Mediapro this month put on the market seven packages of rights to Serie A, with bidders having until April 21 to submit offers. The non-exclusive rights were to cover three seasons, from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

The packages on offer include all 380 matches for pay-television; two packages each for digital-terrestrial television and IPTV; one covering the matches of the top eight clubs; one covering the matches of the other clubs; and two packages for online platforms – one of which includes every game, while the other includes the matches of the top eight clubs.

Last month, Italy’s antitrust authority, the AGCM, approved Mediapro’s acquisition of the rights from Lega Serie A. The Infront agency managed the rights-sales process on behalf of the Lega.

Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division of Italian club football, 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 ($1.31bn) per season, exceeding the minimum revenue target of €1.05bn that had been set.

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.

Mediapro said in response to yesterday’s news: “The only one that will be damaged is Italian football, we do not believe that situations like this are good for its image and stability.”