Amazon considers bid for Serie A rights
Amazon, the online retail giant, is considering a bid to acquire the media rights to Italian soccer’s Serie A, it has been reported.
The tender for the rights sale of Italy’s domestic soccer league for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle is expected to be launched next month, albeit the coronavirus pandemic could push that back.
Serie A rights are shared by pay-television's Sky Italia and over-the-top platform DAZN for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle in a deal worth €973 million ($1.07 billion).
According to reports in Italy, Amazon is exploring the possibility of entering the Italian market after its positive investment in the Premier League last year. In December, it broadcast its first live soccer matches, showing 20 Premier League games to subscribers on its Prime Video platform, and has now added Champions League rights in Germany from the next cycle.
Earlier this month, Vincenzo Spadafora, Italy’s sports minister, was reportedly giving consideration to amending the Melandi Law, which governs the collective selling of media rights in the country.
Reports said he is proposing to scrap the no single buyer rule, allowing a potentially lucrative exclusive rights swoop.
Spadafora told Italian media: “The issue of TV rights needs updating; I will turn my hand to the Melandri Law.”
Other likely bidders include DAZN and Sky Italia, which won its appeal against the AGCM, the Italian antitrust authority, earlier this month, opening up the possibility for it to bid for Serie A rights.
Sky Italia was initially handed a three-year ban by the AGCM, preventing the broadcaster from acquiring and distributing exclusive content on its digital platforms.
The ban was handed to Sky Italia in May 2019 following a two-month probe into the acquisition by R2, the pay-TV services and technical platform of Mediaset Premium, the digital terrestrial TV service. The ban was upheld by a TAR, the regional administrative court three months later.
However, the TAR of Lazio reversed the AGCM ruling following an appeal hearing.
Last year, Mediapro, the Spanish agency, submitted an offer worth €1.28 billion per season for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle to set up a dedicated Serie A channel, after months of negotiations over the possible launch of an in-house TV channel that would carry all the games, as well as pre and post-match shows, highlights and magazine programming.
A vote of the clubs on the deal was been postponed numerous times and negotiations over an improved offer have stalled over on-going governance issues at the league.Sportcal