Mediapro wants €260m from Serie A over failed 2018 rights deal
Mediapro, the Spanish media rights and production agency, is seeking more than €260 million ($305.8 million) in damages from Italian soccer's Serie A following the termination of a media rights contract two years ago.
Mediapro has commenced legal proceedings against the league, demanding the return of €52 million, plus VAT, that was advanced to Serie A upon the signing of the contract in 2018, and an additional €210 million in compensation, according to Spanish newspaper La Información.
In March 2018, Serie A accepted an offer from Mediapro for domestic media rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21 valued at just €1,000 above the €1.05-billion annual reserve price.
It was approved by Italy’s antitrust watchdog, but only on condition that the agency acted as a broker, selling the rights to other broadcasters. It was reported at the time that Mediapro would be lobbying Serie A clubs that the best path to pursue would be the creation of a league channel to be distributed on various platforms.
That did not come to pass, and, three months later, following a legal challenge from dominant pay-TV operator Sky, the Court of Milan effectively cancelled the invitation to tender launched by Mediapro, saying that the packages drawn up “would put Mediapro in a monopoly position, inhibiting the freedom of other operators and forcing them to pay more for television services.”
That ruling was upheld, on appeal, by which time the league had already terminated its deal with Mediapro on the grounds that the company had not offered the necessary financial guarantees.
That paved the way for three-year deals with Sky and DAZN, the OTT platform, ahead of the 2018-19 season worth €937.3 million per season.
Mediapro's push for compensation comes as the group looks to renegotiate the first year of its four-season contract with France's Ligue 1, citing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with a €172 million instalment having been missed in early October.Sportcal