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Serie A media-rights partners ‘withhold fee instalments’

Pay-television broadcaster Sky, OTT operator DAZN, and the IMG agency have not paid their instalments due for Serie A’s 2019-20 domestic media rights, it has been reported.

The instalments are thought to total €220m ($239m) but the companies are said to have held off on meeting them due to the ongoing shutdown of the league because of Covid-19.

Sky Italia, DAZN and IMG were due to make their latest rights fee instalment payments on May 1 as part of their deals running from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

Domestic live rights to Serie A games are held by Sky and DAZN in deals worth €973m per season. IMG’s deal is worth just over €380m per season for international broadcast rights, club archive rights, betting rights, a marketing spend and fee for access to the broadcast signal.

All three have been looking for a deferral on any rights fee payment given the current suspension of the league and no visibility on when – or if – the 2019-20 season will resume.

Sky has written a letter to the clubs and the league to reiterate that it will not pay the sixth and final fee instalment and has bemoaned the fact that no counter proposals have been suggested, according to the Gazzetta dello Sport.

International pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group, which holds the exclusive Serie A rights in 36 territories, has been moving closer to terminating its Serie A rights agreement with IMG, as recently reported by SportBusiness. BeIN is currently in the second season of a three-season deal, paying $170m (€157m) per season. The deal includes France, Spain, Australia, Turkey, seven Asian territories and a further 24 in the Middle East and North Africa.

On May 1, the Serie A clubs reiterated their desire to finish the 2019-20 season at a league assembly meeting.