De Siervo: Mediapro must improve Serie A TV channel offer
Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, has been urged to return with an improved TV channel offer to Italian soccer's elite Serie A by the end of the month, as talks continue over the proposed launch of the in-house channel.
The Lega Serie A council met yesterday, where the Mediapro offer was presented to the clubs.
Luigi de Siervo said in a news conference following the meeting: "We have a narrow roadmap. We have worked in recent weeks with the various lawyers and representatives of the clubs, making a deep and detailed analysis of Mediapro's offer.
"The strengths and weaknesses of their proposal have been identified. The talks will continue, with the aim of being able to receive a new offer re-formulated based on what were the reflections made by the clubs; an offer that we hope will arrive in time for the 1 July assembly, in which we would like to show the progress made.
"The first offer arrived from Mediapro had so many issues that could be improved, so many areas where it had to be improved, not only at the economic level."
Talks between Serie A and Mediapro have been under way for some time over establishing a league channel to exploit the rights for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.
The offer on the table from Mediapro would be worth a minimum of €1.2 billion ($1.36 billion) per season to the clubs, according to reports in the country.
Some €1.06 billion per season would come from the channel project, with Mediapro additionally offering up €55 million for archive rights and spending €78 million per season on production and distribution.
Mediapro will take the first €90 million earned over the €1.2 billion, after which the revenue surplus would be split 75 per cent to the league and 25 per cent to Mediapro.
At present, Sky, the pay-TV broadcaster, shares live rights to Serie A with DAZN, the international over-the-top service, in three-year deals worth €937 million per season, which came into effect at the start of the 2018-19 campaign.De Siervo was also questioned about Serie A's commitment to stage the Supercopa, the annual contest between the winners of the league and the Coppa Italia, in Saudi Arabia, amid reports the league could be prepared to break its contract over the Middle East nation's alleged harbouring of beoutQ, the pirate broadcaster.
BeoutQ has been pirating Qatar-based international pay-TV sports broadcaster BeIN's coverage of a range of sports properties, including Serie A.
January's Supercopa in Jeddah was the first in a €21-million ($23.9-million) deal between Serie A and the ministry of sports in Saudi Arabia to stage three editions of the Supercopa in the country over a five-year period.The Italian executive appeared to backtrack on comments he made earlier this month that the league could skip the Supercopa in Saudi Arabia.
He said yesterday: "We always try to respect and honour the contracts. In this case, the agreement provides for the possibility to play two finals in Saudi Arabia over the next four years. The Saudis have asked to play it there this year, the evaluation is now not of the league but of the individual teams. We are gathering elements to allow clubs to make the best choice.
"The contract is tight, does not allow referrals or anything else: the only possibility of not playing in Saudi Arabia is related to 'documented and legitimate impediments of one or the two teams', but at the moment there is no decision yet, everything is being evaluated."
However, de Siervo did reiterate Serie A's determination to fight against piracy, noting the league had secured a "significant budget of around €1 million" to embark on a four-pronged approach: analyse and monitor violations; take legal action (it has already obtained provisions from the Court of Milan); lobby government to enhance the anti-piracy tools available; and advertising and marketing, including running adverts on LED boards in-stadia.
De Siervo explained: "We do not want to punish the end user, but to explain to him that piracy is an illegitimate act that damages the football product. In Italy, one user in four is a pirate. Together with colleagues from the Premier League, Uefa and Fifa, we want to block piracy internationally, otherwise the [TV] rights will be worth much less at the next auction. We estimate damage of €150 million a year due to piracy."