Regulator fines Sky over Serie A rights marketing

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has fined Sky Italia €7m ($7.9m) after ruling the pay-television broadcaster failed to properly market its rights to Serie A, the top division of domestic football.

AGCM said Sky committed two violations of the Consumer Code by suggesting to potential new customers that its Sky Calcio package contained coverage of all Serie A games for the 2018-19 season, as it had done for the past three campaigns.

In June, Sky and digital sports content and media group Perform acquired domestic rights to Serie A in deals worth a total of €973.3m per season across the 2018-19 to 2020-21 campaigns.

Sky acquired two packages, the first of which, Package 5, includes rights to three matches per weekend for a total of 114 per season, including the 8.30pm game on Sunday. Sky also acquired Package 6 – four matches per weekend or 152 per season, including the 8.30pm match on Mondays.

Perform landed Package 7, which comprises three matches per day or 114 per season, including the 8.30pm slot on Saturday. The matches are being offered via its OTT platform, DAZN, which in July also picked up rights to Serie B.

In its ruling, AGCM added: “The Authority has also ascertained that Sky has implemented an aggressive practice as it exercised undue influence on customers subscribed to the Sky Calcio package, which, in the face of a significant redefinition of its contents (reduction of 30 per cent of Serie A and cancellation of the whole Serie B tournament) have not been placed in a position to freely take a decision on the maintenance or otherwise of the package.”