Loss of Champions League hits Mediaset’s ad revenues

Jonathan Tah of Bayer Leverkusen competes for the ball with Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus during the Uefa Champions League group D match between Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset has posted increased profits and reduced revenues for the first half of 2019 on the back of its first season without rights to the Uefa Champions League club football competition.

In June 2017, pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia replaced Mediaset as Italy’s exclusive Champions League and Europa League rights-holder in a three-year deal from 2018-19 to 2020-21.

The absence of the Champions League led to a drop-off in advertising revenue from Mediaset’s free-to-air coverage of the competition.

Total gross advertising revenues fell by 10.4 per cent to €985.2m ($1.06bn) in the first half of 2019, from €1.1bn in the first six months of 2018.

In Italy, overall revenues slipped from €1.297bn to €1.002bn, while in Spain they were down from €508m to €482m.

Operating costs dropped to €1.291bn from €1.681bn. This comes on the back of reduced costs relating to the 2018 Fifa World Cup, which Italy did not qualify for.

Mediaset’s deal for the World Cup was worth less than half the value of Italian rights fee paid for the 2014 tournament (which did include Italy).

Meanwhile, Mediaset’s earnings before interests and taxes rose by 55 per cent to €191.6m, while net profit rose by 155 per cent to €108.9m.