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Serie A delays decision on Mediapro offer for second time

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 29: Franck Ribery (L) of ACF Fiorentina celebrates his goal with his team-mates during the Serie A match between AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on September 29, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)

Italy’s Lega Serie A has delayed its final decision on rights agency and production group Mediapro’s €1.3bn ($1.42bn) bid for media, production and distribution rights to the country’s top-tier football league.

A decision is now set to be made by league clubs on October 14, seven days later than had previously been declared, following a meeting between senior executives from both Mediapro and Serie A.

Positive talks were held in Milan last week between Mediapro executives Jaume Roures and Tatxo Benet, and Serie A president Gaetano Miccichè, reports calciomercato.corriere.it.

Mediapro submitted its offer in July which, if successful, would see it acquire the rights for Serie A football for the three-season cycle between 2021-22 and 2023-24. The deal would allow Mediapro to create an in-house channel for the league and is also thought to include €55m per season for copyright issues and €78m per season for production costs.

The league body had previously said that it would announce its decision on September 30 before saying that it would reveal the final decision on October 7.

Pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia and OTT service DAZN currently hold the domestic rights to Serie A, having agreed to pay €973m per season between them for the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle.

Last year, Lega Serie A did accept a bid from Mediapro for the domestic media rights during the 2018-19 to 2020-21 cycle. The offer was just €1,000 above the €1.05bn annual reserve price. Italy’s antitrust regulator approved the proposal but on the condition that Mediapro sells on the rights to broadcasters. Sky Italia subsequently issued a legal challenge to the invitation to tender issued by Mediapro and the league then terminated its deal with the Spain-based group.

The Infront agency holds a six-year near €6bn minimum guarantee agreement with Lega Serie A to work as its exclusive adviser on domestic and international rights media-rights sales runs until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.