June 13, 2018 / 12:25 PM / 4 months ago

Sky, Perform win Serie A soccer broadcast rights in Italy

MILAN (Reuters) - Broadcaster Sky and sports media group Perform won the rights to screen top-flight Serie A football matches in Italy until 2021 for more than 973 million euros ($1.2 billion) per season, Italy’s soccer league chairman said.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus vs Hellas Verona - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - May 19, 2018 Juventus' Gianluigi Buffon lifts the trophy as the Juventus players celebrate winning the league. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

Sky and Perform outbid Mediaset, Italy’s biggest commercial broadcaster, which had strained its finances to buy rights in the previous three-year tender.

“The sale of TV rights has finally reached a conclusion,” league Chairman Gaetano Micciche said.

The league had been trying for a year to auction the rights for 2018-2021.

European pay-TV firm Sky said it had secured exclusive rights to broadcast live 266 matches in Italy every season, or seven out of 10 Serie A games being played on a given day.

After buying the rights to show the remaining three matches from each round of fixtures, Perform Group will launch its DAZN streaming and on-demand service in Italy, offering subscriptions for 9.99 euros per month. DAZN said it would also show highlights of the seven games being broadcast by Sky.

UK-based Perform is owned by Access Industries, founded by billionaire Len Blavatnik.

Under the terms of the sale, the league is entitled to a further 100 million euros each season based on results achieved by Sky and Perform in terms of subscriptions and revenue, Micciche said.

The league kicked off a new bidding round for 2018-2021 rights this month after it cancelled a contract awarding them to Spanish multimedia group Mediapro.

The decision was taken after Chinese-owned Mediapro failed to present the necessary bank guarantees.

Mediapro had been expected to auction the rights to other operators but its tender was also cancelled by a Milan judge in May on grounds that it breached antitrust rules. This followed a legal challenge from Sky’s Italian subsidiary.

Mediapro did not take part in Wednesday’s auction for the rights of 400 matches, a source close to the league said on Wednesday.

The 2017-18 season of Italy’s Serie A, which ended in May, was aired by both Sky’s Italian subsidiary and Mediaset’s pay-TV arm Premium.

Mediaset said in a statement it had offered a total of 600 million euros over three years and would now contact the winners of the tender to secure a deal in order to give its pay-TV customers access to matches. ($1 = 0.8485 euros)

Additional reporting by Elvira Pollina and Giulia Segreti, editing by Cynthia Osterman and Jason Neely

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