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Serie A clubs rebuff Qatari offer amid tender process

Serie A clubs rebuff Qatari offer amid tender process

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By: TV Sports Markets team

12 Jan 2018
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Clubs from Serie A, the top division of Italian football, have reportedly rejected a lucrative proposal from the International Bank of Qatar related to the league’s broadcast rights.

The Calcio e Finanza website, citing newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, said the private sector bank had put forward an offer to Lega Serie A providing a package of financial guarantees worth €13bn ($15.56bn) over 10 years.

The offer relied mainly on Serie A’s future income from broadcast rights, with commissions to the bank if agreements exceeded the €1.3bn per season mark.

The offer needed the backing of 14 of Serie A’s 20 clubs, but reportedly only received 13 votes in favour. Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus and Torino are said to have voted against the offer, while Sassuolo abstained and Roma and Napoli were absent from the meeting.

Clubs were said to have been uneasy over the International Bank of Qatar’s offer owing to existing commercial agreements they have with other banking groups and the fact the bid overlaps with the recently launched tender process for Serie A’s domestic rights.

Lega Serie A, the organising body of the top division, has issued the tender documents for its next set of domestic broadcast rights, with €570m set as the minimum price sought to acquire television rights to all 380 games per season.

Lega Serie A posted the documents on its website on Saturday, having approved the process on January 4. The rights on offer are for the three seasons spanning 2018-19 to 2020-21, and two separate documents have been issued – one for pay-television operators, digital terrestrial television platforms and internet outlets, along with a subordinate tender intended for independent financial intermediaries.

The minimum price for all the packages offered to traditional operators equates to €1.05bn per season. Highlights of the tender include the A and B packages reserved for pay-television and digital terrestrial television platforms, which include the matches of Juventus, Napoli, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Lazio and Fiorentina, along with two other clubs, for a total of 248 games per season priced at a minimum of €260m.

The C package includes the same matches for internet platforms and has been priced at €160m per season. The D1 and D2 packages contain the exclusive matches of Serie A’s other 12 teams, including Roma, and can be purchased for any of the audiovisual platforms. 

Offers under the tender process will be accepted through to January 22 and bids will reportedly be assessed from the traditional operators on the same day. The Lega will then decide whether to award the rights or proceed to private negotiations on January 25 ahead of another meeting on the following day.

If these offers are still not satisfactory then bids from the tender targeted at independent financial intermediaries will be assessed.

The Lega has been forced to draw up a new rights auction after Italian media group Mediaset refused to participate in the last tender and the only bidders tabled offers that did not meet expectations.

Mediaset refused to participate in protest after filing a complaint to Italy’s antitrust authority, the AGCM, over the structure of the sales process, which the broadcaster claimed favoured pay-television rival Sky.

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