Serie A demands €460m from Mediapro as stakes raised in legal battle
Italian soccer's Serie A has hit back in its legal battle with Spanish media rights and production agency Mediapro over their cancelled media rights deal, submitting a counter claim of €460 million ($543 million).
Serie A's bid for compensation has come after it emerged earlier this week that Mediapro was seeking the return of €52 million, plus VAT, that was advanced to the league upon the signing of the contract in 2018, and an additional €210 million in compensation.
Serie A said its claim is for damages, delays and generally wasting the league's time.
A hearing is expected to commence in Milan on 1 December.
In March 2018, Serie A accepted an offer from Mediapro for domestic media rights from 2018-19 to 2020-21 valued at €3.15 billion in total.
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.