Sky Italia appeals ban on exclusive digital rights swoop
Sky Italia, the pay-television broadcaster, has appealed to Italy's Council of State over a ban that prevents it from acquiring and distributing exclusive content on its digital platforms until 2022.
Only last month, the Council of State, Italy's top administrative court, restored the three-year ban, which had been imposed on Sky by the AGCM, the country's antitrust authority, in May 2019 following its purchase of R2, the pay-TV services and technical platform of Mediaset Premium, the digital terrestrial TV service.
The regional administrative court of Lazio reversed the AGCM ruling in March, opening up the possibility for Sky to bid for rights across all platforms to domestic soccer's Serie A in the next cycle, but the Council of State promptly restored the restrictions.
Should Sky's appeal fail, it will dampen its enthusiasm for a bumper bid for Serie A rights considering it can no longer exploit them exclusively online.
The tender for the cycle beginning 2021-22 was originally scheduled to launch in April, but was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, and is now planned for the autumn.
Sky shares rights with over-the-top platform DAZN for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle in a deal worth €973 million ($1.1 billion) per season.
Serie A is presently mulling an approach from private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, which has proposed the acquisition of 20 per cent of a new company that will manage Serie A’s broadcasting rights from 2021, the international trademark for the league and its commercial development in a deal worth some €2.2 billion.
There are eight private equity firms and one bank that are interested in partnering with the league, albeit CVC's offer is the only one being considered presently as there is an exclusive negotiating period.
The Infront Italy agency has a six-year, €5.94-billion minimum guarantee agreement running to 2021 with Serie A to act as its exclusive adviser on both domestic and international media rights.