Cinema screenings, highlights and title sponsorship on Serie A agenda
Serie A fixtures will be allowed to be screened live in cinemas throughout Italy starting with the 2018-19 season, provided they are located at least 80 kilometres from the venue, the top Italian league has announced.
Details of the 'cinema and theatre' package for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle will be published on 23 July.
The decision was made at a Lega Serie A meeting in Milan yesterday, where discussions also took place over the highlights package in the new rights cycle and title sponsorship.
It is understood there are three packages for the free-to-air highlights of weekend matches: Sunday from 7pm (showing all Saturday games and the early lunch-time Sunday match), 10.45pm for the other Sunday games and 10.45pm for the Monday night game; Sunday from 10pm (for all Saturday games and the early lunch-time Sunday match), 10.45pm for the other Sunday games and 10.45pm on Monday; and 10.45pm on Monday for highlights of all weekend's games.
Rai, the Italian public-service broadcaster, previously expressed concerns at the initial terms of the live rights tender that prevented highlights from being shown before 10pm on Sunday, claiming that this threatened to spell the end of programmes such as its long-running ‘90° minuto’ offering.
Live domestic Serie A rights in the new cycle are held by Sky Italia, the Italian pay-television operator, and DAZN, the Perform-owned over-the-top subscription service, in deals worth a basic €2.9 billion ($3.4 billion).
Sky will show 266 matches per season, including games on Saturdays at 3pm and 6pm, on Sundays at 3pm, 6pm and 8.30pm and on Mondays at 9pm. Perform will show 114 games each season, to be played on Saturdays at 8.30pm and on Sundays at 12.30pm and 3pm.
An agreement between Sky and DAZN that would make all Serie A matches available to the pay-TV giant's customers is expected to be announced next Monday.
A decision on the title sponsor of Serie A in the 2018-19 season onwards is anticipated by 26 July.
Telecom Italia Mobile, or ‘TIM’, the group’s mobile division, has been the title sponsor for 20 years, but its contract ended on 30 June and the two parties had been unable to reach agreement over an extension.
However, according to reports in Italy, TIM has had a change of heart and submitted a new offer to keep its name associated with the league. Samsung, the Korean consumer electronics corporation, and Trenitalia, the Italian train operator, have been in negotiations about the title sponsorship, but have been unable to strike a deal.
TIM has also been the title sponsor of the Coppa Italia, the national cup competition, but the league is expected to split the rights going forward.