Mediapro seeks €200m in damages from would-be business partner Serie A
The relationship between Serie A and Mediapro, once likely business partners in an in-house TV project, appears to be increasingly strained with the Spanish media rights and production agency having filed a significant €200 million ($222 million) claim for damages against the league, it has emerged.
Mediapro submitted its final offer, complete with enhanced guarantees, to Serie A - €1.283 billion per season for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle to establish an in-house TV channel - on 4 November, but a vote of the 20 top-flight clubs was postponed numerous times.
The clubs had consistently held Mediapro to task, principally over the financial guarantees, but it was the agency that then stalled the process last month until Serie A elected a new president (this happened on Wednesday with the election of Paolo Dal Pino, chief executive of telecoms firm Telit).According to reports in Italy, Mediapro has filed a €200-million claim against Serie A, arguing that the publicly expressed doubts made by league and club executives about the agency's financial strengths and bank guarantees had damaged its image.
Despite Serie A and Mediapro having worked closely over the past six months on the proposed TV channel, the threat of legal action has never been far away.
Back in June, Serie A is understood to have filed a request for damages for around €450 million from Mediapro, that figure being the difference between the €2.9 billion the league is receiving from the current domestic rights-holders - pay-TV's Sky and over-the-top streaming service DAZN - in the present three-year cycle and the €3.3 billion it had demanded after terminating a distribution deal with Mediapro before the 2018-19 season on the grounds that the company had not offered the necessary financial guarantees.
Serie A has since kept hold of the €64-million deposit, comprising a payment of €50 million plus VAT, which Mediapro stumped up when it landed rights to Serie A in the initial sales process.