Sky strikes back to land Serie B rights in Italy
Sky Italia, the pay-TV operator, will show Italian soccer's second-tier Serie B in the country for the next three years after today landing both rights packages.
The broadcaster will show all matches from 2021-22 to 2023-24 after submitting the winning bid in the league’s recently issued non-exclusive tender.
Sky will replace OTT streaming platform DAZN, which presently holds rights to all Serie B matches under a three-year agreement that expires at the end of this season and is worth €22 million ($26.6 million) annually. Public-service broadcaster Rai currently pays €3 million per year for a package of free-to-air highlights and radio coverage.
In a role reversal, DAZN recently replaced Sky as the main rights holder in Serie A in the next three-year cycle after finally prevailing with an offer of €2.5 billion last month.
Sky last week filed a court appeal to contest Serie A’s deal with the streaming service and a hearing has been set for 5 May.
After Serie B launched a tender featuring two live rights packages - one for satellite and/or digital terrestrial platforms, and a second for streaming, including OTT and mobile – DAZN was widely expected to retain some rights.
However, Sky, still smarting from losing the main Serie A rights to the OTT platform, has snapped up both packages to the Italian second division and will broadcast games on its linear channels, as well as on its Now streaming platform.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the league had set a reserve price of €16 million per season for each package if acquired by one broadcaster.
Rai and international subscription broadcaster Eleven Sports were also understood to be in the running for the rights.
Sky could yet land more soccer content as it also retains an interest in the final package of Serie A’s domestic live rights despite having an offer rejected recently.
The Comcast-owned broadcaster was prepared to pay €75 million for the first season, €87.5 million for the second season and €100 million for the third season for co-exclusive rights to three matches per round, but did not receive sufficient votes in favour from the top-flight clubs.
The league put Package 2 of its tender back on the market last Friday and lowered its asking price from €250 million per season to €150 million.
Serie B adds to Sky’s portfolio of soccer rights from next season, which includes Uefa club competitions in the Champions League, Europa League and new Conference League for the next three years, and England’s Premier League.