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Rai appeal rejected, ends hope of Champions League renewal

The Court of Milan has definitively rejected Italian public-service broadcaster Rai’s appeal against the sublicensing agreement between pay-television broadcaster Sky and commercial and pay-television group Mediaset for Uefa Champions League rights.

The rejection of the appeal ends Rai’s hopes of being able to extend its previous one-season sublicensing agreement for Champions League rights – for the 2018-19 season – with Sky. Rai took action against Sky’s two-season deal, covering 2019-20 and 2020-22 with Mediaset as within its 2018-19 agreement with Sky, it had the option to renew for a further two seasons.

However, Sky has claimed that the option could only be exercised if its position in the market had not changed significantly in the period between the deal being signed in January 2018 and the option being due. Since the deal was signed, Sky lost the rights to three Serie A matches per week to OTT service DAZN.

Having lost its appeal, Rai will now pay €15,000 and €10,000 in legal fees to Mediaset and Sky respectively.

Sky initially acquired exclusive rights to both Uefa Champions League and Europa League in Italy in 2017, in a three-season deal, from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

Mediaset will broadcast one Champions League match per week free-to-air, along with both semi-finals, the final and the European Super Cup.