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Serie A TV rights could get nasty in Italy

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Sky Sports warns league not to sign with MediaPro.

FC Internazionale Training Session
Rafinha Alcantara of FC Internazionale in action during the FC Internazionale training session at the club’s training ground Suning Training Center in memory of Angelo Moratti on February 6, 2018 in Como, Italy.
Photo by Marco Luzzani - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

While it won’t have much impact to Inter Milan viewing in the United States, the deal to broadcast Serie A games in Italy have the potential to get nasty.

After the league postponed bidding because no company met its requirement of €1.05 billion, Spanish outlet MediaPro came in and laid down a bid of €1.05 billion — €1,000 over the minimum required, going well past the bid put in by Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Sports outfit.

Sky Sports issued a statement that the league not accept the offer:

“The Spanish media group, despite having presented an offer exclusively for ‘independent intermediaries,’ would not operate as such but rather as a communications operator. For this reason, Sky asks the League to consider Mediapro’s offer unacceptable, stop negotiations with them and exclude them from the running.”

- As quoted by Football Italia.

MediaPro founder Taxto Benet said the group would distribute league games between various platforms.

“It will be easy for everybody to see Serie A to see it in as many platforms as possible. We have always thought that the production and distribution of football need to stay together to bring the best possible product.

“This way, the number of viewers and subscribers will grow. We’ll work to broadcast the games also on the web to complete the offer.

“The platforms have to be united and there shouldn’t be internal disputes. Like I said, we’re very happy to have gotten the rights.”

- As quoted by Italian Football Daily.

If the deal passes anti-trust discussions in Italy, it will be go on top of the €371 million the league negotiated for its foreign broadcasts, leaving deals to broadcast the Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana remaining. In the last three seasons, the Supercoppa broadcast rights brought in around €50 million to the league.

“The first offer was for €483 million, then €762 million, then €830 million, finally to up over €1 billion. Now the antitrusts will evaluate the deal, which will last around 45 days,” said Paolo Nicoletti, vice president of Lega Calcio to RMC Radio. “I must say, adviser Luigi De Siervo and his team have done an incredible job, as well as Marco Brunelli and the Lega Calcio.”

International broadcast rights were purchased by U.S. sports entertainment management group IMG and RAI – Italy’s public television broadcaster. beIN SPORTS currently broadcasts games in the United States via beIN SPORTS Connect. There is no word as to whether that will change with the 2018 season.