Italy’s top football league has lost more than 500 million euros ($ 583 million) in revenue due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the head of Italy’s Serie A said on Monday, warning the industry was in dire straits.
To contain the spread of COVID-19, the Italian government has rejected proposals to allow more spectators at sporting events, including lifting the current limit of 1,000 spectators at Serie A football matches to fill a quarter of stadium capacity.
“Currently, Serie A is experiencing a shortfall of more than 500 million euros”, Serie A chief executive Luigi De Siervo told Italian state broadcaster Rai, blaming a lack of match day revenue and a drop in sponsorship deals.
“The entire system is on the brink of collapse,” he added, calling on the government to consider gradually increasing the limits on football fans at matches.
Match day revenue accounts for about 11% of the Serie A club’s total annual revenue of 2.5 billion euros, which consists mainly of sales of broadcast rights.
But this revenue source is also shrinking as broadcasters around the world respond to lower ad revenue by cutting spending on the right media deals.
In a bid to cushion the impact of the pandemic on debt-ridden clubs, Serie A is considering selling a minority stake in a new company that handles the League’s broadcast rights for 10 seasons.
Two rival private equity consortia led by CVC Capital Partners and Bain Capital are competing for a 10% stake.
De Siervo said the Serie A clubs would meet by October 10 to review the offer.
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