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Serie A television rights deal halted

New deal would bring in extra money to Inter Milan.

FC Internazionale v Bologna FC - TIM Cup
Javier Zanetti, FC Internazionale board member Steven Zhang and President of FC Internazionale Erick Thohir look during the TIM Cup match between FC Internazionale and Bologna FC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 17, 2017 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

In February, Spanish media company Mediapro offered 1.05 billion euros for the rights to broadcast Serie A matches from 2018-2021.

Now that deal has been halted.

Sky Italia filed a motion in Italian court this week asking to check on the validity of the deal made between the league and the Spanish outlet.

“The announcement of Mediapro being assigned Serie A’s television rights raises so many perplexities that it’s necessary to verify the legality […] before it can present any important offers,” Sky Italia said in a statement, reported by Broadband TV News. “Sky emphasizes [sic] that it wants to keep guaranteeing subscribers a quality product, with full journalistic and editorial autonomy in a nondiscriminatory system and free competition among operators.”

Mediapro was the only company that met the league’s minimum 1-billion-euro benchmark. Sky Italia and Mediaset combined to bid on the rights, but their offer was approximately 220 million euros below the Mediapro bid.

If the deal stands, several Serie A clubs stand to gain additional television revenue for the upcoming seasons. Under the terms, as examined by Football Italia, the money shared by all teams will go to 50 percent – an increase of 10 percent from the previous years.

Inter Milan, for example, would stand to gain approximately 9 million euros. Atalanta would be the biggest winner, gaining around 25 million euros while Sampdoria would get 24 million euros more; Genoa 20 million euros more and Torino 17 million euros more. Roma (11 million euros) and Lazio and Napoli (17 million euros each) would also see increased revenue.

Juventus would stand to be the biggest loser in the deal, seeing a decrease in television revenue of approximately 17 million euros.

The deal with Mediapro would also include reducing the number of Sunday afternoon matches to just three, but the outlet said it planned to work with TIM, Amazon and Perform to stream matches over the internet.

Revenues from Serie A matches from 2015-2018 reached nearly 945 million euros each season. The league also changed its international rights holding company from Silva & MP to IMG – a deal with nearly 371 million per season.

The deal with Mediapro comes at a time when 11 of the 20 Serie A clubs reported their first net collective profit in 17 years – teams like AC Milan, Inter Milan and Roma still reported losses. Television rights account for 56 percent of Serie A’s total revenue with brand merchandising adding 22 percent and match-day ticket sales rounding out at 10 percent. The league’s collective debt was reported at 2.1 billion euros – up from the 1.87 billion euros reported the season prior.

Sky and BT recently won the rights to broadcast English Premier League matches for a reported 5.11 billion euros – down from the 5.76 million euros the companies paid for the rights in 2015 through 2020.

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