Italian men’s soccer’s top-tier governing body Lega Serie A has appointed international sports marketing agency Infront to exclusively manage the media rights for its Lega Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Supercoppa Italiana competitions in 36 Asia-Pacific (APAC) territories.

The deal, which begins with the 2024-25 season and runs until the end of 2026-27, will involve Lega Serie A utilizing Infront’s expertise and knowledge of that region (which in this deal, also includes Australia and New Zealand) to identify the most successful ways for the league, and the two cup competitions, to increase their televisual reach across APAC. After 2026-27, there is also a prolongation option.

It means that Infront keeps a portion of its rights in terms of selling Lega Serie A media rights – across the current broadcast cycle (2021-22 to 2023-24), Infront has been the agency responsible for selling packages across most of the globe. However, the league had originally said it would adopt a different approach in many regions for the next three-season period, in multiple cases engaging in direct negotiations with broadcasters without the use of an agency.

The tie-up comes after the league's clubs gave their permission for the Lega to begin discussions with APAC broadcasters in mid-December – Serie A has evidently, in this case, instead chosen the agency route specifically for APAC. The process is being headed up by Anna Guarnerio, who joined the league in a senior media rights role in late 2022 – after spending 25 years at Infront Italy.

Sportcla (GlobalData) understands that the Infront deal came through direct negotiations between the agency and the 20-team league, instead of through a tender process.

The APAC rights cover all languages, platforms, and methods of content distribution, forming the latest stage in the long-term collaboration between the agency and Serie A, which began with Infront being named as a media advisor to the league in 2010. The territories covered include Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, North Korea, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

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Luigi De Siervo, Lega Serie A chief executive, has said: "In line with our new strategy, Lega Serie A is selecting the best solution for each region.

“Our relationship with Infront has developed over more than a decade and this decision is a testament to their unparalleled expertise in Asia, an area where Serie A has always had a very large fanbase of passionate fans who follow our League with great interest.

“For this reason, each season starting from the next, four Serie A matches involving teams qualified for the European competitions will be scheduled in prime time in Asia."

Bruno Marty, senior vice president of ProSports at Infront, added: "This is an example of how we can adapt to the evolving strategies of rightsholders and landscape of sports media rights, finding innovative solutions that cater specifically to the needs of our clients and their audience.

“This new approach to partnerships exemplifies our commitment to serving rightsholders' strategic ambitions and our capability to implement bespoke business models across diverse territories, in this case with our long-standing partners at Lega Serie A combined with our outstanding media sales experience in Asia."

Infront will be focusing on finalizing deals with stakeholders in the region in the months leading up to the next Serie A season, starting in August 2024.

International sports broadcaster BeIN is one of the main current Serie A broadcast partners in APAC.

These will be added to the international markets in which the league has already secured broadcast deals for the next cycle directly – these include large swathes of Europe.

The overall process was kicked off in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, at the end of August.

In December, the league also agreed on contracts covering Belgium and the Balkan area.

Earlier this month, Serie A and Enilive, the sustainable energy subsidiary of Italian energy company Eni, unveiled a new title sponsorship deal.

Meanwhile, last month Infront secured agreements with over 30 broadcasters around the world for the 2024 men’s EHF European Handball Championship national teams tournament.