New Serie A president Dal Pino outlines global aspirations
Serie A needs to think of itself as a media company in order to become competitive again at an international level, Paolo Dal Pino, the new president of Italian soccer's top-flight, has declared.
Dal Pino was elected on 9 January, and in his first address to the league assembly in Milan yesterday, the former telecoms executive outlined his vision for Serie A.
He described as a "beautiful challenge... accelerating the transformation of the Serie A into a competitive media company on an international scale," telling the 20 top-tier clubs: "Our football must return to being the most beautiful and most viewed at the world."
Becoming a media company does not, however, necessarily equate to "making a channel," the new president said, avoiding any references to the long-standing offer from Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, to launch an in-house Serie A TV channel from 2021-22.
Dal Pino continued: "We must be a producer of content to be distributed on various platforms, which are alternatives to the traditional ones. To succeed we must organise and structure ourselves to meet the changing consumption needs of our end users, with a product that is as attractive as possible from all points of view, such as the modernisation of stadiums and internationalisation."
Mediapro submitted its final offer to Serie A - €1.283 billion ($1.42 billion) per season for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle - on 4 November, but a vote of the 20 top-flight clubs has been postponed numerous times.
Although the two parties have traded legal threats, Dal Pino and Serie A chief executive Luigi de Siervo will reopen talks with Mediapro.
The league must still offer its TV rights through a public tender as stipulated by the Melandri Law, which governs the collective selling of rights, and current domestic rights-holders pay-TV's Sky and over-the-top streaming service DAZN now know they must at least match the Mediapro offer if they wish to retain the rights.
Sky and DAZN are mid-way through a three-year deal worth €973 million per season.
Dal Pino said of the next domestic rights sales process: "I have already met Sky, next week I will meet DAZN, Mediapro, then we will see. There are two different hypotheses of timing. But in terms of national rights, we are aiming for quick times, about six months, so times are tight. I will also meet Amazon and other OTTs, not only at a national level."
As for kick-off times, consideration is being given in the next cycle to moving one of the three Sunday 3pm (CET) fixtures to the same time on Saturday, when at present just one match is played.
The president said: "Rethinking the match times? It is one of the issues raised by several presidents and will be discussed. I am sensitive to this issue because we must think of those who watch our football not only in our country: we have gigantic potential that we cannot develop if we do not think with this flexibility."