FIGC president Gravina delights in fierce Serie A interest
Gabriele Gravina, president of the FIGC, the Italian soccer federation, has welcomed the six offers on the table for Serie A from private equity firms, claiming the domestic league has "a new appeal."
UK-based CVC Capital Partners, USA's Bain Capital, Advent, the US private equity group in partnership with Italy's FSI, General Atlantic, TPG Capital and Apollo Global Management all met Monday's deadline to submit binding offers to Serie A to create a media company with the league.
Separately, China's Wanda Sports and Spain's Mediapro want to partner with the league on the establishment of a TV channel to show Serie A matches from 2021-22.
Gravina told ANSA, the Italian news agency: "The great interest shown in the Serie A championship by important world-class funds and media companies is excellent news for all Italian football.
"Regardless of how the discussion will develop within the league... our top league has a new appeal. During the lockdown the situation seemed critical, but thanks to the work done in those weeks, everyone in the own areas of expertise, the scenario has been completely reversed...
"Italian football is a valuable product that must be developed and marketed in the best possible way because the positive effects will be a determining factor for the entire system."
According to reports in Italy, the six offers value Serie A in the range of €12 billion ($14.1 billion) to €15 billion. They would own no more than 15 per cent of a new company that would control the league's media rights for the next decade.
CVC’s proposal is known to include providing financing for stadia across Italy, many of which have hardly been updated since the country hosted the 1990 Fifa World Cup, and this would aid the FIGC's plans to bid for the Uefa European Championships in 2028.
Wanda, which owns the Infront agency, and Mediapro, the media rights and production agency, have offered €1.5 billion and €1.3 billion respectively per season to operate and distribute an in-house league channel.
Current domestic rights to Serie A are held by pay-television operator Sky Italia and over-the-top subscription service DAZN in three-year deals worth €973 million per annum that run to the end of the 2020-21 campaign. The IMG agency handles the international media and other commercial rights in an agreement worth more than €360 million per year.
The 20 Serie A clubs are due to meet in person for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in a Milan hotel tomorrow to discuss the offers, with the league keen to launch its domestic rights tender for the next cycle in the coming months.