The AGCM, Italy’s antitrust and competition authority, has rejected proposals by global sports streaming service DAZN and telecoms firm TIM as it investigates their exclusive distribution deal to show games from Italian soccer’s top-flight Serie A.
The watchdog opened an investigation into the partnership last year after TIM agreed a deal to exclusively distribute DAZN’s Serie A coverage after it landed the bulk of domestic live rights for three seasons.
TIM’s three-year contract with the platform is worth around €340 million ($354 million) annually and shows Serie A content on its TIMvision streaming service.
DAZN secured full live rights to the top Italian league for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 seasons in a deal worth around €2.5 billion.
Last year, the AGCM decided not to impose precautionary measures to restrict the partnership but pressed on with the probe, which was opened in response to complaints from TIM's rivals – notably pay-TV broadcaster Sky Italia – as well as consumer groups.
Both TIM and DAZN had submitted proposals in order to try to allay the regulator's concerns over a potential restriction of competition in the telecoms and pay-TV markets.
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But in a document reportedly seen by Reuters, the Italian regulator ruled last week that the proposed remedies were not enough to address its concerns.
Under existing Italian rules, the firms could face a fine of as much as 10% of their turnover if the authority decides they were in breach of antitrust rules.
Reuters cites TIM as indicating that it is assessing the next steps to take, while DAZN said in a statement it will continue to act in order to ensure the distribution agreement is compliant with existing competition rules.
The AGCM said it will complete the proceedings by March 31, 2023, extending from a previous deadline of June 30, 2022.