Sports News

Britain's Sky, Perform win broadcast rights for Italy soccer

MILAN (Reuters) - British broadcaster Sky and sports media group Perform won the rights to screen Italy’s top-flight Serie A football matches until 2021 for more than 973 million euros ($1.2 billion) a season, Italy’s soccer league chairman said.

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Sky and Perform outbid Mediaset, Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster, which had strained its finances to buy rights in the previous three-year tender.

“The sale of TV rights has finally reached a conclusion,” league Chairman Gaetano Micciche said.

The league had been trying for a year to auction the rights for 2018-2021.

Sky said in a statement that it had secured exclusive rights to broadcast live 266 matches every season, or seven out of 10 games being played on a given day.

Under the terms of the sale, the league is entitled to a further 100 million euros each season based on results achieved by Sky and Perform in terms of subscriptions and revenues, Micciche said.

The league kicked off a new bidding round for 2018-2021 rights earlier this month after it canceled a contract awarding them to the Spanish multimedia group Mediapro.

The decision was taken after Chinese-owned Mediapro failed to present the necessary bank guarantees.

Mediapro had been expected to auction the rights to other operators but its tender was also canceled by a Milan judge in May on grounds that it breached antitrust rules. This followed a legal challenge from Sky’s Italian subsidiary.

Mediapro did not take part in Wednesday’s auction for the rights of 400 matches, a source close to the league said earlier on Wednesday.

The 2018 season of Italy’s Serie A, which ended in May, was aired by both Sky’s Italian subsidiary and Mediaset’s pay-TV arm Premium.

Mediaset said in a statement it had offered a total of 600 million euros over three years and would now contact the winners of the tender to secure a deal in order to give its pay-TV customers access to the matches.

Additional reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giulia Segreti, editing by Edmund Blair, Elaine Hardcastle and Cynthia Osterman