OneFootball, the international soccer content portal, has acquired streaming rights to Italy’s top-tier Serie A in the UK and Ireland on the eve of the new 2022-23 season.
Under a two-year agreement struck with sports marketing agency Infront, the league’s global media rights partner, the platform will show select live games and highlights for free in the territory.
Infront sells rights in all markets, bar the US and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, where Serie A negotiates deals directly, through 2023-24.
OneFootball will air one game each matchday via its app and website. These matches will be shown live and for free primarily on Saturdays at 7:45pm UK time, with a small number of games aired during midweek rounds.
Fans can also access highlights and near-live clips from all 10 matches each game week.
OneFootball’s coverage will begin on the opening day of the new Serie A season tomorrow (August 13) with Inter Milan’s match against newly-promoted Lecce.
The deal will run until the end of the 2023-24 season and includes 38 live matches in total, as well as 380 highlight clips per year.
Linear TV rights to Serie A are held in the UK by pay-TV broadcaster BT Sport under a three-year deal that runs until the end of the 2023-24 season.
OneFootball's deal builds on its portfolio of free-to-air streaming rights in the UK and Ireland, with coverage available of leagues from across Europe, Asia, and South America.
Last month (July), the platform signed digital collectibles deals with Serie A, and a trio of the league’s top clubs – AC Milan, Juventus, and Napoli.
Nikolaus von Doetinchem, OneFootball vice-president of OTT streaming and media rights, said: "At OneFootball, we love Italian football, and are equally passionate about bringing fans around the world closer to the clubs and leagues they love.
“This deal with Serie A is the latest in our growing portfolio of distribution deals and indicative of our mission to bring our young, mobile-first user base closer to the action.”
In total, Infront has announced Serie A will be shown in over 200 countries this season, with 12 new broadcasters on board.
The Italian top-flight will be aired by 73 broadcasters, with Infront claiming it could reach a potential audience of over 1 billion through new and prolonged rights agreements across all territories except the US and MENA.
Major broadcasters around the world for the upcoming season include BeIN Sports (France, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia), ESPN (South America and Central America), DAZN (Germany, Austria, and Japan), Eleven Sports (Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland), Match TV (Russia), Movistar Plus (Spain), S Sports (Turkey), Sport TV (Portugal), Ziggo Sport (Netherlands), CCTV, IQIYI and MIGU (China), FuboTV and TLN (Canada), Supersport (Sub-Saharan Africa), and Canal Plus (French-speaking countries in Sub-Saharan Africa).
US rights are held by national network CBS, while the league finally secured a permanent broadcast partner recently in the MENA region after partnering with Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), the media and entertainment organization, and streaming platform Starzplay under a three-year deal that will run until 2024-25.
ADM and Starzplay will provide Serie A coverage in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Chad, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Djibouti, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Serie A was shown on YouTube last season as the top Italian league failed to land a traditional broadcast deal after BeIN Sports opted not to renew.
Amikam Kranz, Infront vice-president of media sales and operations, said: “This year we have worked with our international rights brokerage team to close the small gap that was still missing in some countries.
“Although last year we had already achieved broad coverage globally through three-year agreements, we wanted to guarantee fans of the Italian league abroad further opportunities to access Serie A content.
“This year we have 12 new broadcasters that will further influence the competition’s exposure. Furthermore, almost all agreements guarantee the broadcast of at least five matches for each day of the championship, in addition to promos, the weekend presentation magazine, and highlights of the whole day.”
Luigi De Siervo, Serie A chief executive, added: "Thanks to the partnership with Infront, which has been going on for many years now, this season will see Italian football broadcast in 200 countries through 73 different broadcasters, in addition to the territories of the MENA region and the United States where Lega Serie A has direct sales.
“These numbers are also the result of the many innovations we are bringing year after year, enriching the Serie A product thanks to a league that has now become a true media company. The exclusive NFT content, a new player to broadcast highlights on our website, the landing on the metaverse, are just some of the latest innovations we have launched, allowing all fans to experience Italian football like never before."
Infront has a three-year contract to distribute Serie A’s international rights for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.
The Wanda-owned agency revealed that the first season of the partnership provided Serie A with almost 137,000 hours of coverage through live and deferred matches, highlights, magazine programs, and replays.
Infront’s contract with the league is valued at €139 million ($144 million) per year or €417 million in total.