Serie A global rights bid window to open on 16 December, excludes MENA
By Jonathan Rest
Serie A, Italian soccer's top-tier, today launched an invitation to tender for its international media rights for the new three-year cycle.
The tender covers the 2021-22 to 2023-24 seasons for Serie A, the knockout Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa, the annual match between the winners of the two aforementioned competitions.
The bid window will be open from 10am (CET) on 16 December to the same time on 11 January, 2021.
Serie A said following the receipt of all bids, it may well decide to open private negotiations with parties to identify the best offers.
The invitation to submit offers, which is open both to media operators and agencies, has been built on a territorial approach and includes 115 packages, all offered on a platform-neutral basis. Interested parties can bid for a single package or for several.
There are 57 packages for each of Serie A and Coppa Italia, comprising in both cases one global, four continental - Europe, Americas, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia/Oceania - and 52 countries. Excluded in those packages are Italy, San Marino and Vatican City, as well as 24 territories in the Middle East and North Africa.
The domestic and MENA sales processes will be launched at a later date.
There is also one global in-flight and in-ship package. That includes MENA, but again excludes Italy, San Marino and Vatican City.
Serie A international broadcast rights are presently held by the IMG agency in a three-season deal worth more than €360 million ($425 million) per season, doubling the €185 million that the now defunct MP & Silva agency had been paying.
Indeed it was the loss of the Serie A contract that contributed to the Italian agency's downfall.
A total of 30 companies worldwide had lodged 95 different offers for Serie A rights in the previous international sales process, and he league and its agency adviser Infront Italy decided to hold private talks in a bid to drive up the price in excess of the target of €300 million per season.
Infront Italy’s six-year, €5.94 billion minimum guarantee agreement to act as Serie A's exclusive adviser on both domestic and international media rights expires at the end of the 2020-21 season.
Last week, the league's 20 clubs unanimously voted for the establishment of a media company in partnership with a private equity consortium led by CVC Capital Partners.
CVC will hold 50 per cent of the consortium's stake, Advent International 40 per cent and Italian state-backed fund FSI 10 per cent.Serie A's three-year domestic rights agreement with pay-TV's Sky and over-the-top subscription service DAZN, worth €973 million per year, expires at the end of this season.
Rights in MENA, as well as France, Australia and Turkey, are presently held by BeIN Sports, with the international pay-TV operator having renegotiated the final year of its contract, worth around €155 million per season, ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, citing the impact of piracy.
BeIN's business has been heavily impacted by the emergence of beoutQ, the Saudi Arabia-backed pirate network, and relations between the broadcaster and Serie A were not helped when the league signed a lucrative deal with the Saudi government to stage three editions of the Supercoppa in the kingdom over a five-year period.
The decision to exclude MENA from the forthcoming tender comes amid reports of a legitimate Saudi-backed broadcaster launching in the region to challenge BeIN's dominance and the fact that Germany's Bundesliga and the Asian Football Confederation are both live in the market.