MILAN (Reuters) – Serie A clubs on Friday granted DAZN the primary domestic right to screen Italy’s top football championships for the next three seasons, two sources said, in one of the biggest offerings for streaming services in Europe.
DAZN, which entered the Italian market in 2018, is offering around 2.5 billion euros ($ 2.95 billion) for the right to screen all Serie A matches in the 2021-2024 period, including exclusive rights for seven out of 10 matches per match day, previous sources the word.
DAZN beat rival Sky’s bid, owned by US group Comcast, which has offered 2.25 billion euros for Serie A rights to its satellite and digital terrestrial TV platform.
Serie A will hold talks through Monday with Sky about screenings of three matches per match day on a non-exclusive basis, said the same source.
Under the current three-year agreement, Serie A raises around 2.9 billion euros from Sky and DAZN, with Sky holding the lion’s share of the rights.
At the teleconference meeting, 16 out of 20 clubs supported DAZN’s bid to buy broadcast rights to all Serie A matches, said two sources, who attended the meeting.
Broadcast rights are a major source of revenue for Serie A and are increasingly important as matches are played in empty stadiums due to COVID-19 restrictions and companies shrinking sponsorship budgets.
But rampant inflation in the sector has shown signs of peaking before the pandemic and has been further negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis.
The German Bundesliga has agreed a 4.4 billion euro deal for four-year domestic broadcast rights from 2021/22 onwards, with Sky awarded the main package of all Saturday’s matches.
BIG STEPS FOR DAZN
The deal with Serie A is one of the largest a sports streaming app has ever secured with a major football league and marks a major advance on DAZN’s current deal with Serie A.
Under a deal that expires in June, DAZN is offering Italian customers three out of 10 Serie A matches per match day.
Owned by billionaire Len Blavatnik’s Access Industries, DAZN signed a technology and distribution agreement with Telecom Italia (TIM) to increase its Serie A offering.
TIM will cover more than 40% of the annual payment that DAZN has to pay to Serie A, a document seen by Reuters shows, when betting on football to promote broadband services and ultra-fast pay TV. TIM shares were up as much as 3.6% on the Milan stock market on Friday.
Home to Juventus Cristiano Ronaldo, Serie A has been discussing offers for weeks, with several clubs expressing doubts over a deal with DAZN and looking to maintain the league’s long-term partnership with Sky.
Clashes between Serie A clubs over a separate 1.7 billion euro deal to sell a 10% stake in the new company that handles the league’s media rights also contributed to the stalemate.
In an effort to ease some clubs’ concerns over its nationwide reach, the sports streaming app is trying to get some TV frequencies in Italy, said a source with knowledge of the matter.
The deal underscores the challenges traditional pay TV broadcasters face from video streaming app services that have seen their popularity rise during the pandemic as people spend more time at home due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The pandemic has helped make video streaming more common in Italy, where users are more traditional,” said Augusto Preta, founder of consulting firm Itmedia.
($ 1 = 0.8488 euros)
Reporting by Elvira Pollina, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Hugh Lawson / Keith Weir / Ken Ferris