Monday, 27 July 2009

Television battle in Italy for Serie A rights

The Lega Calcio has announced that five companies including Sky Italia and Mediaset have placed bids for the live Serie A collective rights for two years from the 2010/11 season.

Television rightsOn Friday, the Italian Anti-trust Authority opened a probe into the lucrative TV rights sale to check whether the governing body for Serie A and B had abused their dominant position to benefit incumbent pay-TV broadcasters and not viewers.

Lega Calcio, who were assisted in drawing up the packages by marketing group Infront Sports & Media, defended their action by stating they had stuck to the rules.

The Italian pay-TV market is dominated by Rupert Murdoch's satellite operator Sky Italia, and digital terrestrial service Mediaset, a company controlled by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who also owns seven-time European and 17-time Italian champions AC Milan.

Digital terrestrial rival Dahlia TV, owned by Sweden's Airplus TV, also bid within today's deadline, as did domestic private radio station RTL 102.5 and internet company TheBlogTV.

The Lega Calcio did not disclose which packages these companies placed bids for nor the price details.

Only three of the six packages up for sale since 10 July regard rights to live and exclusive broadcast of Serie A matches - one for satellite and two for the digital terrestrial platforms.

According to the tender document, the Lega will assign the packages after consulting with club Presidents within seven days.

By the same deadline, it will also decide whether to tender or sell through a private negotiation any unassigned packages.

A General Assembly meeting of the Lega Calcio is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

The league aims to raise at least 895.8 million euros from the 2010/11 rights sale and 927 million euros from the following season, according to media calculations based on figures in the tender documents.

Government approves collective TV rights sale (04/01/2008)
Lega Calcio announce Infront deal (17/07/2008)
Serie A set for breakaway in 2010 (30/04/2009)
Lega launches collective TV rights packages (10/07/2009)

Source: Reuters

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