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Sky creates single European sports division under Sky Italia boss Zappia

Sky, Rupert Murdoch’s European pay-television company, which was created in November 2014 from the merger of previously separate platforms in the UK, Germany and Italy, has unified its sports operations by creating a single European sports division under the control of Andrea Zappia.

Zappia (pictured) will have overall responsibility for all aspects of the sports operation, from rights acquisition and production through to identifying new commercial opportunities for the division. He will remain the chief executive of the Italian platform Sky Italia.

The 52-year-old Zappia became chief executive of Sky Italia in August 2011 after 18 months as managing director of the customer group at the UK platform, BSkyB, where he was responsible for sales, marketing and customer operations across BSkyB’s pay-television, broadband and telephony products.

Zappia previously worked for Sky Italia from 2003 to 2007, first as vice-president of marketing, promotion and business development, and later as vice-president of sport channels.

Sky currently reaches 21 million homes across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. Last month Zappia said that the company had margins for further growth, especially in markets where pay-television penetration remains low, such as Germany (20 per cent) and Italy (30 per cent). He said that the merger of the three companies was helping Sky to “accelerate the process of investment both in original content production and technological innovation.”