The Lega Serie A decided today to transform TV rights from the 2018-2020 seasons, forcing viewers to sign up with more than one broadcaster.
While the Premier League is at the forefront of TV rights sales and has split the games between Sky and BT Sport – now adding Amazon Prime to the mix – the situation had been different in Italy.
Sky Sport Italia currently have rights to every single Serie A match shown live, while Mediaset Premium can transmit only certain teams’ home games.
After the deal with Mediapro fell through because of a Sky Sport Italia antitrust lawsuit and lack of financial guarantees, the Lega Serie A Presidents met up again today to discuss the situation.
They agreed to start a new bidding war, but split the rights up into different packets, orchestrating it in such a way that no one broadcaster can show every Serie A game.
This is likely to infuriate fans and consumer rights groups, who feel it would force football viewers to purchase contracts with more than one broadcaster.
Sky and Mediaset have put their feud behind them recently and struck an agreement to share some channels, which could be a precursor to working out a football rights split too.
Selling the rights for the product at various kick-off times rather than the platform should bring an extra €300m to Serie A coffers.
There are more problems, as the rights would be sold so they can’t be shown on free to air television until after 22.00 local time.
This, again, is similar to the Premier League model, but would effectively end historic Italian shows such as 90’ Minuto, which airs the highlights of that afternoon’s games at 17.00 local time.
From next season, Serie A matches should be spread out over Saturday, Sunday and Monday night.
There will be three kick-offs on Saturday (15.00, 18.00 and 20.30), four on Sunday (12.30, 15.00, 18.00 and 20.30) and one on Monday (20.30).