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Serie A sets date for decision on Mediapro rights offer

MILAN, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 21: Romelu Lukaku of Internazionale celebrates after scoring his team's second goal with his manager Antonio Conte during the Serie A match between AC Milan and FC Internazionale at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on September 21, 2019 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Italy’s Lega Serie A has announced that it will make a decision on a domestic media-rights bid from Mediapro, the rights agency and production group, on October 7 after extending its previous deadline to review the offer further and following an exclusive negotiation period.

In July, Mediapro submitted a €1.3bn ($1.42bn) offer for the media, production and distribution rights for the three seasons between 2021-22 and 2023-24 which would lead to the creation of an in-house channel for Italy’s top-tier football league. The bid is thought to include €55m per season to cover copyright issues with production costs amounting to €78m per season.

Reports across the Italian media said that executives from Mediapro will meet later this week with Serie A representatives in Milan to finalise the terms of the agency’s bid.

The league body had previously said that it would announce its decision on 30 September at a league assembly, though this deadline has now been pushed back to the newly-announced date.

Rights during the current three-season domestic rights cycle (2018-19 and 2020-21) are held by pay-television broadcaster Sky Italia and subscription OTT service DAZN in agreements worth €973m per season.

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.