By Elvira Pollina
MILAN (Reuters) – Serie A representatives will meet on Monday to discuss whether to back TV rights deals worth 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion) over five years or bet big on plans to set up their own media platform to distribute soccer matches, league and club officials said.
TV rights are a crucial source of revenue for Serie A teams such as this year’s champions Napoli, Juventus and Milanese clubs AC Milan and Inter, which are struggling to stay competitive with rivals in Europe benefiting from more lucrative broadcast deals.
After four months of negotiations, current major rights holder DAZN has submitted an offer worth 700 million euros to screen all Serie A matches for the five seasons until 2028/2029 in Italy, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Sky Italia has tabled some 200 million euros to co-broadcast three out of 10 Serie A games per matchday, according to the same sources. The new deals would kick in from next season.
Both proposals were slightly improved compared with previous offers. When including some variable components, bids are close to the total value of the current deals, worth 930 million euros, according to the sources.
However, some of the clubs retain doubts over the offer and would like the league to press ahead with an alternative plan to launch its own media business with the support of financial investors.
The launch of a TV streaming service platform to broadcast matches would a first for any major soccer league in Europe.
The league has already received approaches from investment firms and private equity funds willing to partner with it in setting up a media platform to distribute Serie A matches to other TV outlets, as well as the launch of a league-run live video streaming subscription service.
($1 = 0.9475 euros)
(Reporting by Elvira Pollina; Editing by Keith Weir)