DAZN, the OTT subscription platform, will continue to show Italian soccer’s second-tier Serie B after acquiring co-exclusive live digital rights for the next three seasons.
The streaming service, which held rights to Serie B for the last three years, has been awarded live rights to broadcast games online and on mobile devices from next season through to 2023-24.
It will share the digital rights with Sky Italia after the pay-television broadcaster secured both packages for Serie B – one for satellite and/or digital terrestrial platforms, and a second for streaming, including OTT and mobile – in late April after submitting the winning bid in the league’s non-exclusive tender.
Sky will broadcast games on its linear channels, as well as on its Now streaming platform.
However, Serie B had to return to the market to secure an additional broadcast partner for live domestic rights with Sky presently barred from acquiring and distributing exclusive content on its digital platforms until 2022.
Sky cannot show games exclusively on its digital channels after being issued with a three-year restriction 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 had reversed the AGCM ruling in March 2020, but the Council of State promptly restored the restrictions last June.
An appeal by Sky was promptly rejected by the Council of State last November.
Sky’s exclusion presented DAZN with an opportunity to continue its association with Serie B and the OTT platform submitted an offer by the league’s 15 June deadline.
DAZN will show every game from the second division, including the season-ending playoffs.
With two broadcasters on board, Serie B will now receive a total of €48.5 million ($58.8 million) per season for the rights in the next three-year cycle with Sky and DAZN paying 50 per cent each.
This effectively doubles the league’s rights fee, with DAZN and public-service broadcaster Rai paying a combined €24 million in the previous three-year agreement.
Sky’s initial deal with Serie B for the two packages was worth €32 million per year, €16 million for each package, but this has increased with another broadcaster on board, as per the league’s tender.
Mauro Balata, Serie B president, said: "We started a journey together with DAZN three years ago, having renewed it for a new three years testifies how much mutual satisfaction has been of an innovative partnership that has guaranteed strong growth for both.”
Veronica Diquattro, DAZN chief customer and innovation officer, added: “Three years ago, Serie B chose DAZN by marrying an innovative and modern project that saw streaming vision as the absolute protagonist of the new trends in consumption and use of sports content.
“We are proud and very satisfied with what has been achieved in this period and we are now committed to further growing the BKT Series taking it to the next level and helping to further expand its visibility with the ever-present goal of reaching as many fans as possible."
With its renewed deal for Serie B, DAZN has now positioned itself as the dominant broadcaster in domestic Italian soccer after outbidding Sky to land the lion’s share of rights to the top-flight Serie A over the same three-year cycle in a €2.5 billion deal in March.
The respective broadcasters will also share Serie A rights after Sky recently secured a non-exclusive live domestic rights package covering three games per round.