DAZN obtains the rights to broadcast Serie A in Italy

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MILAN (Reuters) – Serie A clubs on Friday awarded DAZN the main national rights to screen the top Italian soccer league for the next three seasons, two sources said, in one of the most important transactions for the streaming service in Europe.

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Internet streaming service DAZN is pictured in its Tokyo, Japan office on March 21, 2017. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

DAZN, which entered the Italian market in 2018, has offered some 2.5 billion euros ($ 2.95 billion) for the screening rights to all Serie A matches during the period 2021-2024 , including exclusive rights to seven out of 10 games per day, previously had sources. mentionned.

DAZN defeated a competing offer from Sky, owned by the American group Comcast, which had offered 2.25 billion euros in Serie A rights on its satellite and digital terrestrial television platforms.

Serie A will hold talks with Sky until Monday on the screening of three games a day on a non-exclusive basis, the same sources said.

Under the current three-year deal, Serie A has raised some € 2.9 billion from Sky and DAZN, with Sky holding the lion’s share of the rights.

On a conference call, 16 out of 20 clubs backed DAZN’s offer to purchase the broadcast rights to all Serie A matches, said the two sources, who attended the meeting.

Broadcast rights are the main source of income for Serie A and are increasingly crucial as matches are played in empty stadiums due to COVID-19 restrictions and companies cut their sponsorship budgets.

But runaway inflation in the sector had already shown signs of peaking before the pandemic and was again negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The German Bundesliga has struck a € 4.4 billion deal for domestic broadcast rights for the four years from 2021/22, with Sky being awarded the main package of all Saturday matches.

BIG STEP FOR DAZN

The Serie A deal is one of the largest ever by the sports streaming app in Europe with a major football league and marks a significant step up from DAZN’s current deal with Serie A.

As part of an agreement expiring in June, DAZN is offering its Italian customers three out of 10 Serie A matches per day.

Owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, DAZN has sealed a technology and distribution deal with Telecom Italia (TIM) to boost its Serie A offering.

TIM would cover more than 40% of the annual payments owed by DAZN to Serie A, a document seen by Reuters showed, as it capitalizes on football to promote its super-fast broadband and pay-TV services. On Friday, TIM stock rose 3.6% on the Milan stock exchange.

Home to Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus, Serie A have been discussing offers for weeks, with some clubs expressing doubts about a deal with DAZN and keen to maintain the league’s long-term partnership with Sky.

A clash between Serie A clubs over a separate € 1.7 billion deal to sell a 10% stake in a new company handling the league’s media rights also contributed to the stalemate.

In a bid to allay the concerns of some clubs over its reach across the country, the sports streaming app is seeking to secure TV frequencies in Italy, a source familiar with the matter said.

The deal highlights the challenges facing traditional pay-TV broadcasters of video streaming app services which saw their popularity rise during the pandemic as people spent more time at home due to COVID restrictions -19.

“The pandemic has helped make video streaming more mainstream in Italy, where users were more traditional,” said Augusto Preta, founder of consulting firm Itmedia.

(1 USD = 0.8488 euros)

Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Hugh Lawson / Keith Weir / Ken Ferris



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