IMG hedges its bets with OTT safety net

BARCELONA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 2: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates during the La Liga Santander match between FC Barcelona v SD Huesca at the Camp Nou on September 2, 2018 in Barcelona Spain (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen/Soccrates/Getty Images)

  • IMG launches own direct-to-consumer distribution platforms for Italian and Spanish football rights
  • Agency turns down broadcast bids to launch Strive in Scandinavia but fills holes in global coverage with Serie A Pass
  • Move seen as a safety net for rights-holders rather than changing the distribution model for good
The start of the new European football season has seen the launch of two new over-the-top (OTT) streaming services, as the IMG agency rolled out Serie A Pass and Strive to go direct-to-consumer (DTC) with its rights to the top divisions of the Italian and Spanish game.

The Endeavor-owned agency is paying €340m ($402m) a season for the international rights to Serie A from 2018-19 until 2020-21 and is also the vendor of LaLiga coverage in the Balkans, the Nordic countries, Hungary and Romania over the same period. It has made conventional broadcast sales of the Spanish property in all those markets outside Scandinavia and has also done the same with Serie A in France and the MENA region (both retained by beIN Sports).

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