Sky Italia chief bemoans cost of football rights, urges government to act

Andrea Zappia, the chief executive of pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia, has complained that football media rights in Italy are disproportionately expensive and urged the national government to introduce legislation to help the growth of the pay-television sector.

“In Italy, football rights are too expensive – more expensive than in any other country,” Zappia said, just hours before the deadline of midday CET today (Thursday) for bidding in tender for the domestic rights to Italian football’s top-tier Serie A for three seasons, from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

Zappia added that the high cost of football rights “limits the growth of pay-television, a sector that represents a real economic and cultural heritage through channels such as Sky Arts…movies and many other programmes.”

He added: “[Pay-television] makes cultural programmes a lot more than other sectors. This may increase if our country had rules to ensure that pay-television can grow healthily… [but] this government has no understanding of the context.”

Zappia said that pay-television had a key role to play in investing in original productions that can generate income for the national economy at a time when advertising is “in trouble” and there would be little appetite for increased taxes to fund the growth of public-service television.