New rights auction set to be called in Italy

Lega Serie A, which operates the top football division in Italy, is set to launch a new rights auction in the coming months after Mediaset refused to participate in the latest tender and the only bidders tabled offers that did not meet the league’s 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.

Bids for the rights covering three seasons, from 2018-19 to 2020-21, were due in by Saturday, June 10.

However, following a meeting, the Lega’s commissioner, Carlo Tavecchio, confirmed that the rights would not be awarded as scheduled.

Various reports have claimed that the offers from the two bidders – Sky and digital sports media company Perform – were less than the league anticipated.

The news website said that Sky had tabled a bid for two packages that totalled €440m ($493m) – some €160m less than the league called for.

Tavecchio suggested that the total value of the reserve prices for the rights in the new tender across all of the packages would be €1bn. He added that the rights could be awarded in November or December, at least six months before the start of the 2018-19 season.

Lega Serie A is advised by the Infront Sports & Media agency, which is handling the rights-sales process.