TIM completes soccer comeback by filling Coppa Italia void
TIM, the mobile division of the Italian telecoms company, is back as the title sponsor of the Coppa Italia, the domestic soccer cup competition, after agreeing a deal for the final stages of this season’s edition.
TIM has secured a late agreement covering the second legs of the semi-finals, which take place tonight and tomorrow, plus the final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on 15 May, under which the tournament, which is televised free-to-air in Italy, will again be known as the TIM Cup.
The deal builds on the operator’s strong relationship with Italian soccer reinforced by last week’s four-year extension with the FIGC, the domestic governing body, covering all national teams.
TIM was the title sponsor of the Coppa Italia until the end of last season, but its deals for the knockout competition, plus Serie A and the Supercoppa Italiana, the annual contest between the winners of the league and cup competitions, were not immediately renewed.
However, having been expected to walk away after failing to agree terms with Serie A, TIM ultimately signed a new three-year deal with the league last July reported to be worth €15 million ($16.8 million) per annum.
The agreement did not include the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa, as the title sponsorship rights for those competitions were separated and passed to Frecciarossa, the Italian high-speed train service, for €5 million per annum.
That deal was subsequently cancelled by the new management of Trenitalia, the state-backed train operator which oversees the service, leaving a sponsorship void for most of this campaign.
The new agreement means the revival of the TIM Cup name, which applied from 1998-99 to 2017-18, but it has yet to be announced whether the brand will return for next season’s competition.
The first legs of the semi-finals were held as long ago as the end of February, and Milan and Lazio are level at 0-0 heading into their decisive match tonight, while Atalanta and Fiorentina are tied at 3-3 before their second leg on Thursday.
It is understood that the organisers are planning a three-day festival in Rome ahead of the final that will feature some of the capital's most famous sites, as part of efforts to attract fans and promote the game.
The lack of a title sponsor was a setback for the Coppa Italia, which is thought to have benefitted from a boost in television and audience interest in recent years.
Domestic TV rights to the competition are held by Rai, the public-service broadcaster, in a three-year deal running to the end of the 2020-21 season and worth €35.5 million per annum, an increase of over 60 per cent on the value of the network's previous agreement.