The domestic media rights tender for the next cycle of Italian top-tier men’s soccer’s Serie A rumbles on, with bids still below the annual level sought, of €1 billion ($1.1 billion).

The league’s president, Luigi De Siervo, has revealed that a deadline of October 15 has been set for a decision on the chosen broadcast partner or partners. The cycle in question begins in 2024-25.

The league has been conducting private negotiations with three broadcasters – likely to be incumbents Sky Italia and DAZN, as well as commercial network MediaForEurope (formerly Mediaset) – in recent weeks after initial bids were turned down. De Siervo was speaking following an assembly of presidents from the league’s 20 clubs earlier this week.

The league is expected to convene again in early September, with talks now reportedly closing down until mid-August and the start of the 2023-24 campaign. The tender was issued in late May.

The Serie A president said: “Even if there has been progress made, there is still work to do … Our objective is to reach €1 billion in revenue per season.

He added: “The assembly has decided in this phase to continue in an attempt to improve the offers received, which have grown a lot over the last six weeks. It is a complex market phase, the participants often have different ideas …”

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In an official release, meanwhile, the league said: “As required by the rules of the invitation to offer, the offers received remain valid and binding until next October 15, in the meantime, Lega Serie A and the clubs will continue to work with the aim of maximizing the value of their audiovisual rights.”

Serie A initially planned to finalize the process and select chosen bidder/s before the start of the 2023-24 campaign, but this may not be possible now.

In the invitation to tender, broadcasters can bid to acquire rights for three, four, or five seasons from 2024-25. The ITT features a total of eight packages with “different configurations.”

The packages include exclusive and co-exclusive options for the league’s 10 weekly matches, as well as an opportunity for a free-to-air game on Saturday evenings.

In the current 2021-24 cycle, DAZN presently has exclusive rights to show seven games per week and co-exclusive rights to air the remaining three matches along with Sky.

The platform’s contract is worth a total of €2.5 billion, while Sky pays an average of €87.5 million per season for its rights package.

Italian communications regulator AGCOM and antitrust body AGCM have both given the green light for Serie A to sell its domestic broadcast rights over a five-year cycle.

De Siervo has also confirmed that the league is not far away from securing a commitment to its financial goal from broadcasters.

Currently, Sky and DAZN between them pay €927.5 million annually.

A switch to five-year deals would make the Serie A domestic rights situation fall in line with overseas rights regulations. Last May, the Italian government changed the law, bringing up the maximum length of the agreement to a half-decade.

The domestic rights process covering the Italian men’s soccer cup competitions – the Coppa Italia and the Supercoppa Italiana – for the next cycle is also ongoing, with private negotiations taking place.

Image: Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images