pursuits

Sky, Perform Win Italian Soccer Rights After Months of Talks

Updated on
  • Companies agree to pay more than $1.15 billion per season
  • The deal ends months of discussions over Serie A rights
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British pay-TV company Sky Plc and sports media group Perform won the broadcast rights to Italy’s top soccer, agreeing to pay more than 973 million euros ($1.15 billion) per season to show live Serie A matches.

Sky acquired two packages of live TV rights for three seasons starting in 2018 and billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Perform secured a third package, the league said late Wednesday in a statement. The pair outbid Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset SpA, Italy’s largest commercial broadcaster.

“This is an important recognition for Italian football,” Serie A President Gaetano Micciche said in the statement.

The deal caps months of talks and legal wrangling, after the league’s January auction failed to attract minimum bids. Spanish broadcaster Mediapro initially secured a deal with the league in February but was thwarted when Sky successfully challenged the process in court, forcing a new round of talks. The league earlier this month said that Mediapro’s financial guarantees for its bid weren’t compliant with the tender’s rules.

Streaming Rights

It’s Perform’s first foray into top-flight soccer in Italy. Backed by Blavatnik’s Access Industries Holdings LLC, Perform also has the exclusive streaming rights for the three seasons of matches starting in 2018 to be shown on its DAZN digital service, the company said. DAZN, seeking to be the Netflix Inc. of sport, is already present Germany, Japan and Canada.

DAZN, a division of Perform, expects to make further announcements about rights deals in the coming weeks, said James Rushton, DAZN’s chief executive officer.

“The sport industry is ripe for disruption,” Rushton said in a statement. “Since launching almost two years ago, we have disrupted the industry in multiple markets as we change the way the world sees sport.”

— With assistance by Thomas Pfeiffer

(Updates with Perform’s streaming deal from fifth paragraph.)
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