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DAZN keeps Serie A TV rights in 4.5 billion-euro deal

DAZN will continue to show Serie A matches in Italy after the league voted on Monday for the streaming television platform to be its principle domestic broadcaster until 2029 as part of a deal worth at least 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion).

DAZN will broadcast all 10 Serie A fixtures each matchday, seven exclusively with the other three also being shown on satellite television service Sky, for the next five seasons until the end of 2028/29.

Together DAZN and Sky will pay 900 million euros a season, with the former paying 700 million euros for the exclusive seven matches, after the league’s 20 clubs voted to accept the combined offer at Monday’s assembly in Milan.

DAZN will also share with Serie A half of any revenues in Italy above 750 million euros a season, which according to the league’s CEO Luigi De Siervo would increase annual TV rights revenues from 2024 to a minimum of 960 million euros.

Seventeen clubs voted in favour of the deal, with two against and one abstention — Napoli, Fiorentina and Salernitana had previously made public their opposition to the offer, pushing for the league to develop a proprietary channel. 

“We have the advantages of having our own channel because we have that 50 percent of the revenues, not profits, revenues, above a certain level… but without having any of the risks,” said De Siervo.

“That was the real issue, because there are teams in our league who have to deal with planning issues which require certain guarantees.”

TV rights are a big issue in Italy as most of the country’s top clubs have posted heavy losses in recent years, their accounts not helped by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday AC Milan announced a 6.1 million-euro profit for the financial year up to June this year, the first time their annual accounts have been in the black since 2006.

Last season’s losing Champions League finalists Inter Milan, who have a 275 million-euro loan to pay back before next summer, lost 85 million euros in 2022/23, while Juventus lost 124 million euros.

No change for viewers

The owner of reigning champions Napoli, Aurelio De Laurentiis, burst into De Siervo’s press conference announcing “the defeat of Italian football”.

“Italian football will die,” said De Laurentiis, who called agreeing a five-year deal in a shifting media environment “idiotic”.

“The supporter is the number one asset of any football club, so my relationship with them needs to be direct. It can’t be through Sky or DAZN… it doesn’t benefit Italian football.”

The new deal will change little for Italian viewers as DAZN already held the rights for the seven exclusive matches after beating Sky in 2021 with a bid of 2.52 billion euros over the three seasons up to the end of the current campaign.

However Italian media report that Sky, who have significantly upped their contribution from the 87.5 million euros they currently pay per season, will have a better pick of the big matches than they have done under the present deal.

In January DAZN, a platform sometimes referred to as “Sports Netflix”, recorded losses of $2.3 billion for 2021.

It has come under fire in Italy for frame rate problems and the low resolution of broadcasts compared to Sky, with questions raised about the technical capabilities of the platform and the quality of Italian internet.

Viewers have also been irritated by frequent changes to price plans and restrictions on the number of devices allowed per subscription.

In 2022 it struck a deal with Sky to have a channel on their platform, allowing matches broadcast by DAZN to be seen on satellite television for an extra five euros per month.

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