Lega Pro president insists no threat to Eleven Sports' Serie C deal
Francesco Ghirelli, president of Lega Pro, the organiser of Italian soccer's third-tier Serie C, has dismissed reports that Eleven Sports, the international subscription broadcaster, is set to hand back its rights to the league.
Eleven, through Sportube, the Italian subscription internet broadcaster it bought to enter the market in May 2017, holds live internet streaming rights to Serie C, and that agreement was recently renewed to the end of the 2022-23 season.
Reports in Italy this week have alleged that the contract could be terminated at the end of the season, and the rights put back on the market, with DAZN, the over-the-top service, the most likely recipient.
However, Ghirelli stressed to Italian media: "This [Eleven giving up the rights] is not on the agenda."
DAZN already streams three matches per round from Serie A, and holds exclusive Serie B rights.
Rai, the public-service broadcaster in Italy, and Sportitalia, the satellite and digital terrestrial broadcaster, hold domestic TV rights to Serie C in a three-year deal that runs to 2019-20 and is worth a combined €2.475 million ($2.81 million).
Lega Pro had originally targeted €2.85 million.Eleven Sports Italy's managing director Giuliani Giorgetti left the broadcaster last month to take a position at Fifa as senior content and digital advisor.
Giorgetti only joined in July 2018, having spent 17 years working for rival Italian soccer giants AC Milan and Internazionale.
The Italian operation is now back in the control of Marco Pistoni, the experienced Italian sports media executive, who is managing director of Aser Media, the global investment company founded by Andrea Radrizzani, the Italian sports and media entrepreneur, and which is Eleven’s parent company. Pistoni was previously president of Eleven Sports Italy.
Other rights held by Sportube, which was founded in 2010, include matches from Italy’s top-tier volleyball, badminton and water polo leagues, domestic and international fencing, and motor sports series including the Italian Rally Championship and top motorcycling championship.