Serie A seeking to triple overseas media revenue

A logo of Italy's Lega Serie A is seen in Milan, Italy, December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo/File Photo

MILAN, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Italy's Serie A sees scope to triple its international broadcasting revenue by 2030 in the face of sluggish growth at home, an internal document shows, reflecting its desire to narrow the financial gap on rival European soccer leagues.

Serie A secured only around 670 million euros ($657 million) from the sale of overseas TV rights in the 2021-2024 period, a ninth of the sum earned abroad by England's Premier League, the world's most lucrative domestic soccer competition.

To extract more value from the main foreign media markets, Serie A has opened a base in New York and plans to set up overseas offices in places including London and Abu Dhabi, an internal document seen by Reuters showed.

It is also looking to package content in different formats, including with documentaries, mirroring the way a Netflix series has helped Formula One motor racing gain new fans.

Under a scenario drafted by Serie A Chief Executive Luigi De Siervo, the league sees international broadcasting revenue potentially growing to some 1.1 billion euros in the 2024-2027 cycle, to reach about 1.9 billion euros in the 2027-2030 period.

Projections for the league's domestic rights point to a potential target of 3.2 billion euros over the 2024-2027 period from some 2.9 billion euros Serie A pocketed thanks to existing TV deals expiring in 2024.

Serie A's domestic TV revenues could increase slightly to hit 3.4 billion euros in the 2027-2030 period.

The estimates for Serie A's media business are included in a document presented to the 20 clubs as the league prepares to kick-off its upcoming round of broadcasting tenders next year.

As part of its ambition to give its media business a boost, despite a challenging scenario including slowing economic growth and rising inflation at home, Serie A is considering creating a separate company to handle its broadcast business.

Such a move could allow the entrance of private equity firms interested in investing in the development of the league's media business, a route which Spain's La Liga and France's Ligue 1 have already taken.

Clubs officials will start discussing the media company project at a meeting on Friday after they were approached by New York-based fund Searchlight Capital and a group of private equity investors led by Carlyle (CG.O).

Serie A failed to finalise a similar project last year, when seven clubs blocked a 1.7 billion euro deal to sell a 10% stake in the league's media business to a consortium of private equity investors led by CVC Capital Partners.

($1 = 1.0195 euros)

Reporting by Elvira Pollina Editing by Keith Weir, Kirsten Donovan

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