TIM in pact with DAZN for Serie A rights as Milan derby draws record audience
TIM, the Italian telecoms operator, has confirmed it will offer subscribers live streaming of matches from Serie A in the next domestic rights cycle if DAZN, the OTT subscription platform, is successful with its bid for the main package.
There had been reports that DAZN was looking to team up with TIM, the long-time title sponsor of Serie A, for three co-exclusive fixtures each week.
Incumbent broadcasters DAZN and pay-television operator Sky Italia are presently competing for the live rights to Serie A in the 2021-22 to 2023-24 period.
DAZN has offered €840 million ($1.02 billion) per season for the package of seven exclusive games and three co-exclusive games, while Sky’s offer is around €750 million for all matches and another €50 million to €70 million in the event of the creation of a league OTT channel.
TIM is already a distribution partner of DAZN, and, in a statement yesterday evening, said that while not participating in the tender process, “it has signed an agreement to supplement the already existing distribution agreement, conditional upon DAZN being awarded the aforementioned tender.
“Under the agreement, TIM would qualify as the reference telephone and Pay TV operator offering DAZN content in Italy as well as for the technological partnership. The collaboration would kick off in July 2021 and would include DAZN’s full catalogue of live and on demand sports content.”
As the tender process is continuing, TIM declined to comment on the economic aspects of the agreement with DAZN.
Serie A was expected to award the rights at a virtual assembly last Wednesday only for the process to be further delayed as nine of the 20 clubs failed to attend as more negotiations were sought, notably over plans for private equity investment in a new media company that would handle the league’s rights.
The initial bids for Serie A rights before the 28 January deadline from DAZN, Sky, US media giant Discovery and Spanish media company Mediapro for the next three-year cycle did not meet the €1.15 billion per season the league is seeking.
DAZN has submitted what it believes is the strongest commercial bid, though it emerged last week that Sky had offered to make an upfront payment of €505 million if its offer is accepted, including €131 million owed from last season and the first instalment for the 2021-22 season.
At present, Serie A brings in €973 million per season for its domestic media rights - €780 million from Sky, which has rights to seven matches per round, and €193 million from DAZN, which has three.
As the tender comes to a head, DAZN’s position will have been strengthened by a peak audience of 2.2 million for its live coverage of Sunday’s Milan derby.
The figure for league leaders Inter’s 3-0 win was a record for a Serie A match on the platform, with 50 per cent of the total streaming the event.
The previous high was 1.6 million for a meeting of the two Milan clubs in September 2019.
DAZN said: “The new record for a single event on DAZN in the country continues to demonstrate how streaming is now mainstream for fans watching sports in Italy.”
Meanwhile, Gabriele Gravina has, as expected, been re-elected president of the FIGC, the Italian soccer federation.
The 67-year-old, who has been at the helm since October, 2018, yesterday defeated Cosimo Sibilia, the president of the amateur leagues, with 73.45 per cent of the votes, compared with 26.25 per cent for his opponent.
Gravina’s new term runs to 2024.