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Serie A: The Latest League in TV Trouble

Serie A is the latest major league to hit TV trouble, with beIN unlikely to renew their $100m deal in the MENA region.
Serie A TV trouble

Italy’s Serie A is the latest major league to find themselves in TV trouble following the troubles Ligue 1 faced at the end of last year.

Serie A Latest League in TV Trouble

TV Deal Unlikely to Be Renewed

It’s looking very unlikely that Qatar’s beIN is going to renew their $100 million deal for MENA rights. This means they won’t be showing the Italian league in the Middle Eastern nations. This is predominantly down to a dispute between Qatar and the Italian FA.

The relationship deteriorated when the Italian Supercoppa final was played in Saudi Arabia in 2018. The decision was taken in the midst of the beoutQ piracy dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar’s beIN Sport claimed Saudi Arabia was the base of a network called beoutQ, which was effectively pirating all of beIN’s live sport and broadcasting it around the MENA region. Despite it being a pirated network, Qatar alleged that the Saudi government was behind the operation.

It was these complaints that formed the base of a legal case against Saudi Arabia at the World Trade Organisation. This case raised concerns over piracy which ultimately undermined the Saudi-funded potential takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United.

DAZN Stake Claim in Italy

Broadcasting rights are the main source of income for Serie A. In a COVID-19 affected world, that revenue is even more important than normal. Teams are playing in empty stadiums and sponsors are cutting their advertising budgets.

It does seem likely, however, that Serie A will be able to find a new buyer for the rights to show Serie A within Italy. Sports streaming service DAZN are reportedly leading the race to show matches between 2021 and 2024. This is a big challenge to Sky Italia, who are Italy’s dominant subscription-based player.

The league is reportedly asking for $1.38 billion for the TV rights. DAZN has reportedly offered 850 million euros per season to show all Serie A matches on its streaming app.

Sky has bid almost 750 million euros. Serie A clubs are discussing the offers with the league. Between 2018 and 2021, Sky and DAZN have been the Serie A broadcasting rights holders. That deal expires at the end of the 2020/21 season, meaning a new arrangement is needed as soon as possible.

Sky currently pays much more than DAZN for the TV rights because their payment gets them seven out of ten matches each weekend. DAZN is now bidding to become the main provider instead of Sky. They want between seven to ten games exclusively shown on their streaming platform.

Serie A Shouldn’t Become Like Ligue 1

This healthy competition between DAZN and Sky means Serie A should be able to steer clear of the situation France’s Ligue 1 have found themselves in.

Broadcasting company Mediapro was set to pay Ligue 1 nearly 1 $1 billion a year for four seasons of showing matches in France. They then failed to come close to their four million subscriber target and couldn’t commit to their payments. The licensing deal had to be terminated in late 2020.

Canal+ has stepped in to broadcast the rest of the 2020/21 season, but bidding companies such as DAZN and Amazon are unwilling to meet the price set by the Ligue de Football Professionnel.

This fiasco coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic means French clubs are expected to lose millions of euros in the near future.

Serie A may have an issue resolving their coverage in the Middle East, but it looks likely that they will soon have a buyer for the domestic product.

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