Mediaset, the Italian commercial broadcaster, is poised to take over as the television home of the Coppa Italia, the country's knockout clubs competition, after submitting the highest bid for the rights for the next three years.
The network will replace public broadcaster Rai having made an offer of €48.2 million ($57.1 million) per season for the rights to the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana in the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle, according to Italian media reports.
It is understood that Rai’s consolation was the retention of the radio rights for the sum of €400,000 per year.
If and when the deals are confirmed, Italy's top-tier Serie A, which launched the domestic rights tender last month, will have generated €48.6 million per year from the rights to the two competitions, an increase of 37 per cent on the €35.5 million in the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle, and more than double the €22 million in the 2015-16 to 2017-18 cycle.
This is being credited to a new format for the Coppa Italia intended to raise interest in the competition, and Serie A set a minimum asking price of €42 million per year in the tender.
The tournament will henceforth involve the 20 clubs in Serie A, the 20 clubs in the second-tier Serie B and four clubs from the lower-tier Lega Pro.
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The Coppa Italia has traditionally been shown free-to-air in Italy, with Rai holding the rights for the past six seasons.
The latest tender was open to pay-TV operators as well as free-to-air broadcasters, but Mediaset will have acquired the rights across all platforms.
The Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana, the annual contest between the winners of the knockout competition and Serie A, will complement a Mediaset soccer offering also including Europe's elite Uefa Champions League, with the broadcaster to offer 121 matches per season, including 104 on its revamped subscription streaming platform Mediaset Play Infinity, and 17 on free-to-air channel Canale 5, over the next three years.
Serie A has also been marketing international rights to the Coppa Italia for the next cycle and Monday is the deadline for bids to be submitted for territories where deals have yet to be concluded.
This follows private negotiations that were scheduled for 22 to 25 June.
The league is offering separate packages covering 10 countries in Europe, 43 in sub-Saharan Africa, and 41 across Asia and Oceania, which includes one package for each respective region and one encompassing all three regions.
There is also a package for the individual territories in the continents.
The process does not cover the Middle East and North Africa region as rights to both Serie A and Coppa Italia were carved out of the international rights package, and have been the subject of private negotiations since a deadline for bids passed at the end of February.
Serie A opened a new round of negotiations on 21 June.
The MENA tender covers 25 packages for each of Serie A and the Coppa Italia (including the Supercoppa): one package covering the entire region; and 24 packages for the individual countries which make up the region.
Serie A has made it possible for interested parties to buy one or more packages.
Meanwhile, Serie A has withdrawn a proposal for all top-flight matches in each round to be played at different times from next season.
The league had hoped that the 10 games could be played in separate slots to maximise exposure, as DAZN, the OTT sports streaming platform, takes over as the main home of the league, in a three-year deal worth €2.5 billion.
However, the plan has not received the necessary support of 14 of the 20 teams, and has now been dropped.